TAIPEI: Attention is turning to Taiwan’s next presidential election in 2024 after the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was thrashed at local elections on Saturday, with President Tsai Ing-wen’s move to focus on China backfiring with voters.

The main opposition party the Kuomintang, or KMT, romped to victory in the mayoral and county elections, winning 13 of the 21 seats up for grabs, including the wealthy and cosmopolitan capital Taipei, in line with expectations. None of those elected have direct say in policy on China.

China views the island as its own territory and has been ramping up military activities to assert those claims, fuelling global concern especially given Taiwan’s major role as a semiconductor producer.

The KMT traditionally favours close ties with China but strongly denies being pro-Beijing. It had been on the back foot since 2020’s presidential election loss, and also suffered a blow last December after four referendums it had championed as a show of no confidence in the government failed.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2022

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