Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party following native election losses on Saturday wherein voters selected the opposition Nationalist get together in a number of main races throughout the self-ruled island.
Concerns about threats from rival China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, took a backseat to extra native points within the elections.
Tsai had spoken out many occasions about “opposing China and defending Taiwan” in the midst of campaigning for her get together. But the get together’s candidate Chen Shih-chung, who misplaced his battle for mayor of Taipei, solely raised the difficulty of the Chinese Communist Party’s menace just a few occasions earlier than he shortly switched again to native points as there was little curiosity.
Tsai provided her resignation on Saturday night, a convention after a serious loss, in a brief speech wherein she additionally thanked supporters.
“I must shoulder all the responsibility,” she mentioned. “Faced with a result like this, there are many areas that we must deeply review.”
While worldwide observers and the ruling get together have tried to hyperlink the elections to the long-term existential menace that’s Taiwan’s neighbor, many native consultants don’t suppose China had a big function to play this time round.
“The international community has raised the stakes too high. They’ve raised a local election to this international level, and Taiwan’s survival,” mentioned Yeh-lih Wang, a political science professor at National Taiwan University.
During campaigning, there have been few mentions of the large-scale navy workouts focusing on Taiwan that China held in August in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s go to.
“So I think if you can’t even raise this issue in Taipei, you don’t even need to consider it in cities in the south,” Wang mentioned.
Candidates from the Nationalist get together gained the mayoral seat in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, in addition to in Taoyuan, Taichung and New Taipei metropolis.
Taiwanese had been choosing mayors, metropolis council members and different native leaders in all 13 counties and in 9 cities. There was additionally a referendum to decrease the voting age from 20 to 18, which was defeated, in accordance with native media.
Chiang Wan-an, the brand new Taipei mayor, declared victory Saturday evening in a big rally. “I will let the world see Taipei’s greatness,” he mentioned.
Not all votes had been formally counted by the point of his speech, however Chiang and the opposite candidates’ numerical lead allowed them to declare victory.
Kao Hung-an, a candidate within the comparatively new Taiwan People’s Party, gained the mayoral seat in Hsinchu, residence to lots of Taiwan’s semi-conductor corporations.
Campaigns had resolutely centered on the native: air air pollution within the central metropolis of Taichung, visitors snarls in Taipei’s tech hub Nangang, and the island’s COVID-19 vaccine buying methods, which had left the island in brief provide throughout an outbreak final 12 months.
The defeat for the ruling DPP could also be partly attributable to the way it dealt with the pandemic.
“The public has some dissatisfaction with the DPP on this, even though Taiwan has done well relatively speaking in pandemic prevention,” mentioned Weihao Huang, a political science professor at National Sun Yat-sen University.
At an elementary faculty in New Taipei City, town that surrounds Taipei, voters younger and previous got here early regardless of the rain.
Yu Mei-zhu, 60, mentioned she got here to solid her poll for the incumbent Mayor Hou You-yi. “I think he has done well, so I want to continue to support him. I believe in him, and that he can improve our environment in New Taipei City and our transportation infrastructure.”
Tsai got here out early Saturday morning to solid her poll, catching many citizens unexpectedly as her safety and entourage swept via the varsity.
“If the DPP loses many county seats, then their ability to rule will face a very strong challenge,” mentioned You Ying-lung, chair on the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation that frequently conducts public surveys on political points.
The election outcomes will in some methods additionally mirror the general public’s perspective towards the ruling get together’s efficiency within the final two years, You mentioned.
Some felt apathetic to the native race. “It feels as if everyone is almost the same, from the policy standpoint,” mentioned 26-year-old Sean Tai, an worker at a ironmongery store.
Tai declined to say who he voted for, however desires somebody who will elevate Taipei’s profile and convey higher financial prospects whereas retaining the established order with China. “We don’t want to be completely sealed off. I really hope that Taiwan can be seen internationally,” he mentioned.