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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen Resigns as Party Leader

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen Resigns as Party Leader

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party on Saturday after the opposition Nationalist Party won several major races across the self-ruled island.

Concerns about threats from rival China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, took a back seat in the elections to more local issues.

During her campaign for her party, Tsai had made numerous statements about “opposing China and defending Taiwan.” However, the party’s candidate for mayor of Taipei, Chen Shih-chung, only mentioned the Chinese Communist Party’s threat a few times before quickly shifting back to local issues because there was little interest.

Tsai resigned on Saturday evening, as is customary after a major loss, in a brief speech in which she also thanked supporters.

“I must bear full responsibility,” she stated. “With such a result, there are many areas that we must thoroughly review.”

While international observers and the ruling party have attempted to link the elections to Taiwan’s long-term existential threat, many local experts believe China played a minor role this time.

“The international community has set too high a bar.” They’ve elevated a local election to the international stage, and Taiwan’s survival is at stake,” said Yeh-lih Wang, a political science professor at National Taiwan University.

During the campaign, there was little mention of the large-scale military exercises aimed at Taiwan that China conducted in August in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

“So, if you can’t even raise this issue in Taipei, I don’t think you should even consider it in cities in the south,” Wang said.

Candidates from Taiwan’s Nationalist Party were elected mayors of Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, and New Taipei City.

Taiwanese citizens elected mayors, city council members, and other local officials in all 13 counties and nine cities. According to local media, a referendum to lower the voting age from 20 to 18 was also defeated.

Chiang Wan-an, the new mayor of Taipei, declared victory in a large rally Saturday night. “I will show the world Taipei’s greatness,” he declared.

Although not all votes had been formally counted at the time of his speech, Chiang and the other candidates were able to declare victory due to their numerical advantage.

Kao Hung-an, a candidate for the Taiwan People’s Party, was elected mayor of Hsinchu, which is home to many of Taiwan’s semiconductor companies.

Campaigns had steadfastly focused on the local: Taichung’s central city air pollution, traffic jams in Taipei’s tech hub Nangang, and the island’s COVID-19 vaccine purchasing strategies, which had left the island in short supply during an outbreak last year.

The ruling DPP’s defeat could be attributed in part to how it handled the pandemic.

“The public is dissatisfied with the DPP on this, despite the fact that Taiwan has done well in terms of pandemic prevention,” said Weihao Huang, a political science professor at National Sun Yat-sen University.

Despite the rain, voters young and old came early to an elementary school in New Taipei City, the city that surrounds Taipei.

Yu Mei-zhu, 60, said she came to vote for incumbent Mayor Hou You-yi. “I believe he has done well, and I intend to continue to support him.” I believe in him and believe he can improve our environment and transportation infrastructure in New Taipei City.”

Tsai arrived early Saturday morning to vote, surprising many voters as her security and entourage swept through the school.

“If the DPP loses many county seats, their ability to rule will face a very strong challenge,” said You Ying-lung, chair of the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, which conducts public opinion polls on political issues on a regular basis.

You stated that the election results will reflect the public’s perception of the ruling party’s performance over the last two years.

Some people were uninterested in the local race. “From a policy standpoint, it feels like everyone is almost the same,” said Sean Tai, a 26-year-old hardware store employee.

Tai declined to say who he voted for, but said he wants someone who will raise Taipei’s profile and improve economic prospects while maintaining the status quo with China.

“We don’t want to be completely isolated.” “I sincerely hope that Taiwan can be seen on a global scale,” he said.

The Associated Press

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