Assessing China’s threat and island’s stability: Taiwan voters decide next president

Choosing a New President and Legislature: Taiwan’s Future

In a critical election that could shape the future of Taiwan’s relations with China over the next four years, Taiwanese citizens are casting their votes for a new president and legislature.

At stake is the peace and stability of the self-ruled democracy, which is located 160 kilometers off the coast of China and claimed by Beijing as its own. The election will determine the trajectory of the island’s relationship with China, including the possibility of forceful takeover. However, domestic issues like the sluggish economy and expensive housing have also taken center stage in the campaign.

Representing the Governing Party: Vice President Lai Ching-te

Vice President Lai Ching-te, running on behalf of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), aims to succeed outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen and secure an unprecedented third term for the independence-leaning party.

Encouraging Taiwanese citizens to cast their votes with enthusiasm, Lai emphasized the vitality of Taiwan’s democracy and the importance of participating in the election.

Beijing-favored Candidate: Hou Yu-ih

Hou Yu-ih, the candidate of the Beijing-favored Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), cast his vote in New Taipei City. As the mayor of New Taipei, he temporarily stepped away from his position to run for president.

Hou stressed the need for chaos during the campaign process but called for unity and collective action to face Taiwan’s future after the election.

Alternative Candidate: Ko Wen-je

Ko Wen-je, an alternative candidate from the Taiwan People’s Party, voted in Taipei. He has gained popularity among young voters seeking an alternative to the two major parties.

When asked about his feelings, Ko, known for his dry humor, expressed his commitment to giving his best every day and planning for the future.

The Significance of Taiwan’s Election

Taiwan’s election is not only about choosing a new president and legislature but also has a major impact on the geopolitical landscape. It will determine the nature of Taiwan’s relations with China compared to the West and influence the state of play in the South China Sea.

Despite China’s military threats potentially swaying some voters against independence-leaning candidates, the United States has pledged support for whichever government emerges. The Biden administration plans to send an unofficial delegation of former senior officials to Taiwan shortly after the election.

Challenges and Concerns

Beyond the tensions with China, domestic issues have taken precedence in the campaign. The economy, which experienced a growth rate of just 1.4% last year, remains a major concern. Additionally, unaffordable housing and wage stagnation are top priorities for voters.

The Voting Process

Voting commenced at 8 a.m. (0000 GMT) and will conclude eight hours later. The candidate with the highest number of votes will win, with no runoff required. The legislative races include both district and at-large seats.

Read More of this Story at – 2024-01-13 03:11:15

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