In Taiwan’s much awaited presidential and parliamentary elections, voters have cast their ballots, and preliminary returns indicate that the ruling party’s nominee is leading handily.
Surprisingly, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s incumbent vice president William Lai Ching-te, the more conservative Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih, the former mayor of New Taipei City, and the Taiwan People’s Party’s Ko Wen-je are the three contenders for the presidency. Follow satiknews for latest updates.
The future course of Taiwan’s democracy is in question: will the DPP continue to push for greater international recognition as a de facto independent state; will the KMT pursue closer better commercial links with China, or will the TPP seek an innovative but unproven middle ground between the two parties?
The composition of Taiwan’s unicameral legislature, which consists of 113 members chosen by a party’s percentage of votes and geographic constituency, is also under question. Taiwanese indigenous people are entitled to six seats.
The DPP narrowly won a legislative majority in the previous election, but the KMT and TPP’s strong showing in numerous municipal contests makes this time’s election much more competitive. It was a surprise turnaround for what has been a relatively weak campaign season centered on domestic matters, according to Brian Hioe, a regular observer on Taiwanese politics and founder of New Bloom Magazine.
Hioe claims that a few noteworthy instances this week may have turned off some voters. First, despite his party’s relative inexperience, third-party candidate Ko showed voters he was a viable contender by drawing a sizable crowd of 350,000 people to his event on Friday.
One of them, Nicky, 25, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that she had cast her ballot for Ko as she was leaving a Taipei primary school polling place. She mentioned that she admired Ko’s track record as mayor, his can-do attitude, and his simpler speaking manner, but she declined to give her complete name.