Taiwan's president handed stinging defeat in regional elections

Taiwan's president handed stinging defeat in regional elections

He said China will continue to uphold the 1992 Consensus - that there is only one China, open to different interpretations - and Beijing would "resolutely oppose separatist elements advocating "Taiwan independence" and their activities".

Cross-strait ties, which had warmed up when the KMT's Mr Ma Ying-jeou was president, have taken a dive in the last two years.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Saturday after it suffered major defeats in key mid-term polls, a significant blow to her prospects for re-election in 2020.

The DPP lost seven of the 13 cities and counties it now holds - the special municipalities of Taichung and Kaohsiung, Chiayi City, and Yilan, Yunlin, Changhua and Penghu counties - to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

The KMT won 15 of 22 mayoral and county magistrates seats, up from just six.

Alawmaker from the president's Democratic Progressive Party told CNN any positive referendum result "must pass" in the next legislative session, but a legal expert said lawmakers would be left to decide how to respond to the results of the referendum.

"We will. send our drafted bill to the parliament as soon as possible for review and passage because we respect same-sex partnerships and believe there should be a special law for them", he said.

The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), which oversaw an unprecedented thaw with Beijing before Tsai took office in 2016, made gains in the face of China's increasing pressure on the island, which it considers as part of its territory to be reunified.




"I think part of the reason for the vote on Saturday was concern about relations between Taiwan and mainland China", said Huang Kwei-bo, vice dean of the worldwide affairs college at National Chengchi University in Taipei.

The KMT's strong showing was not necessarily a backlash against Tsai's policy towards mainland China, and may reflect concerns about Taiwan's economic performance and jobs, analysts said. China has stepped up military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, and put in measures to inflict economic pain on the island, such as restricting the flow of mainland tourists.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen, who ran on a platfom in support of gay marriage but who has always been accused of dragging her feet, has given up her post as leader of Taiwan's governing party.

The race for mayor of the capital Taipei City was too close to call, with several hundred votes separating the independent incumbent Ko Wen-je and his KMT challenger Ting Shou-chung as of 10:30 p.m.

Analysts and local media cited dissatisfaction with Tsai and the DPP rather than approval for the Nationalists, also known as the KMT, as a prime reason for the outcome.

The Kuomintang once ruled China before fleeing to Taiwan in 1949 after losing China's civil war to the Communists. The International Olympic Committee had said a name change would risk Taiwanese athletes being banned from competing in the Olympics.

Another factor cited was the Nationalists' Han Kuo-yu, who ended 20 years of DPP rule in Kaohsiung by soundly defeating his DPP rival, and seemed to galvanize opposition to the status quo under Tsai.

"The people of Taiwan may not want reunification - and the number who want independence may actually be growing - but they have made it clear that Tsai has been naive to think that that means they don't want to do business with the mainland", he said.

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