Since 2008, the two countries separated by the Straight are talking and last November they shook hands. China’s vast shadow looms over Taiwan’s independence.
After Ma Ying-jeou’s eight-year presidency, on 16 January Taiwan will be going to vote with one major issue on the electorate’s mind: not what type of country the island would like to be, but whether it will still exist as a nation in the coming decades. This concern, heightened by the fact that China has always viewed Taiwan as a “rebel province”, will in all likelihood result in victory for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and herald in the island’s first woman president.
With Ma ineligible to stand for a third mandate, the ruling Kuomintang party (KMT) has been in trouble for the past two years. The opposition had already shown signs of a resurgence even before the KMT took a hammering in the local elections. In October 2015, with polls already predicting a huge lag behind DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen (59-years-old), the KMT ditched its own candidate Hung Hsiu-chu, replacing her with the mayor of New Taipei, Eric Chu. Even so, the DPP is still a clear favourite, and could end up sweeping the board, securing both the presidency and a parliamentary majority.