Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT)was the great winner of the local elections held this Saturday, which caused the president of the country, Tsai Ing-wenannounce his resignation as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (PDP).
With the majority of the votes counted, the nationalist KMT took over the mayoralty in four of the six big cities of the country -among them, the capital, Taipei-, while the other two went to the hands of the PDP.
Of the fifteen smallest cities and counties, the KMT took nine; the DPP, three; the third party in contention, the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), one, and in the other two remaining independent candidates were elected, although, according to the official island news agency CNA, the political sympathy of both tends towards the KMT.
Despite the fact that Tsai, after voting this morning, had assured that participation in the electoral process is “key” to promote democracy on the island, the negative note of the day was the prohibition of going to the polls for those infected with covidwhich, according to official estimates, disenfranchised about 65,000 people, since Taiwan does not allow voting by mail.
The authorities have already warned that those who fail to comply with the mandatory quarantine to go to vote will face fines of up to two million Taiwanese dollars (64,600 dollars, 62,100 euros) or sentences of up to two years in prison.
Tsai accepts his defeat
During the week before the elections, Tsai had focused her speech on the importance of voting in the context of tensions with China and Taiwan’s position at the international level, but, according to CNA, voters turned their backs on this approach. , as none of the positions elected today are related to the management of foreign affairs.
The local press indicates that, contrary to the presidential elections, in which the situation in the Strait of Formosa is an important factor, the Taiwanese today focused on their discontent with the local management of the PDP, also affected by the controversies with some of his candidates, including politicians who had explicit support from Tsai.
The president, who will not be able to run for the 2024 presidential elections as she meets the two-term limit, announced her resignation as PDP leader shortly after 9:00 p.m. local time (1:00 p.m. GMT), although she indicated that she will not accept the resignation of the prime minister. , Su Tseng-chang, who had also made a similar decision.
In a speech at the training headquarters, Tsai took responsibility for results that called disappointingalthough he recognized that the management of the elected officials of the PDP at the local level had not met the expectations of the citizens.
Voting age referendum fails
The referendum also held today to lower the legal voting age from 20 to 18 and from 23 to 18 the age required to present candidacies for political office -the latter, pending the reform of other electoral laws- did not go aheadsince it needed the favorable vote of more than half of the 19.1 million registered voters and only obtained the support of about 5.6 million.
Beijing closely followed the election day, with special interest in the aforementioned referendum, since a Chinese government spokesperson assured that it was part of an alleged PDP plan to promote a constituent process through which declare taiwan independence.
The island has been governed autonomously since 1949, when KMT nationalists retreated there after losing the Chinese civil war against the communists, so Beijing continues to consider it a rebel province and claims its sovereignty.
In recent months, tensions between Taipei and Beijing, constant since Tsai came to power in 2016, have intensified due to the visit of the president of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosistrongly protested by the Chinese authorities, who described it as a “farce” and “deplorable treason”.