Elections in January, voting to exist


 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.

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