Economy and pressure from China. Are the two key factors that have influenced the presidential elections that Taiwan held this Saturday, in which, according to the polls, the chairwoman Tsai Ing-Wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and that pleases little to Beijing, he will renew his mandate in force for another four years on this island of 23 million inhabitants. An independent State de facto, but that the chinese Government considers an inalienable part of its territory. His immediate rival, Have Kuo-yu, of the Kuomintang (KMT) and a supporter of better relations with Beijing, going about twenty points behind in the latest polls.
“We have great confidence that (the chairwoman Tsai) will be re-elected,” insisted Thursday the minister of Foreign Affairs taiwan, Joseph Wu, said in a press conference for foreign media. “This will mean that the taiwanese renewed their confidence in the policy of the current Government”.
China view the possible to win with an apprehension huge. Beijing has no sympathy for Tsai, who, unlike his predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, of the KMT, has preferred to keep distance in the relations with the asian giant, and has come to America, the greatest military ally of Taiwan. During the four years of the mandate of the president, Taipei has accused mainland China of exerting military pressure, by the presence of vessels in the area; economic, through the boycott of its tourists to the island, diplomatic, snatching seven allies to a Taiwan that already has ties full with fifteen countries; and lately, according to reports of the Government of the island, through a campaign of false news in social networks that has led to the approval last month of a controversial law designed to prevent political interference china.
“I don't think that China should interpret the election of Taiwan as its own victory or defeat,” said Wu. “If China interprets it too in our elections, there can be a scenario in which China chooses to bullying in the military, the diplomatic isolation or the use of economic measures as a punishment against Taiwan,” he added.
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A win for Tsai in the election would have been difficult to foresee a little more than a year. After a series of reforms unpopular and the economy anemic, the DPP had suffered in November of 2018 a hard blow —his worst result in years— in the municipal elections, considered as an advance of the presidential elections. Tsai was stepping down as leader of his party and his reelection looked severely at risk. The Kuomintang was plethoric. Their current candidate, Have been, was consolidating as a promising star in the political firmament, after winning the mayor of Kaohsiung, the second city in taiwan and fief traditional to the DPP.
But since then the situation has been a shift. The pressure of China on Taiwan has increased, as clear in a speech in January last year the chinese president, Xi Jinping, again insist on the necessity of unification between both sides of the strait. The protests in Hong Kong and what the minister Wu describes as the “towards authoritarianism” of China have done that Tsai may present itself as a champion of freedom and democracy in a continent, asia, where there is respect for individual rights.
A Tsai who has enjoyed a 2019 excellent. The economy, after years of progress is frail, has broken and Taiwan achieved in the third quarter, a growth of 2.9%, the highest among the four asian dragons, traditional (Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea). Employment reached their highest levels in decades. Grow exports. The budget is balanced in spite of an increase in social spending. It has benefited from the return of investors taiwanese to the island to avoid u.s. sanctions on products made in China: 23.300 millions of dollars in new investments. Under his tenure, Taiwan has become the first asian country to approve gay marriage, a controversial measure whose green light “has allowed him to demonstrate that he was not a leader in decadence,” says the political scientist Nathan Batto, Institute of Political Science of Academia Sinica.
As triumphant as it has been for Tsai, the past year has been dismal for your opponent to Have. The mayor, who in August was still at the head of the polls, has seen its reputation shaken by its management in Kaohsiung, accusations about his personal behavior and what some see as an association too closely with China: if at the beginning of 2019 approval was around 60%, now the 57,1% of the voters ensures distrust of him. Although his message —that the bad relationships of Tsai with China will end up hurting Taiwan— has caught on in a part of the public.
In the last survey disseminated prior to the ten days of silence statistical that are required by law taiwanese before a general election, the television network TVBS gave Tsai a 45% of the vote, against 29% who attributed to Have. A third candidate, James Soong, only reached 7%. 19% of voters stated undecided.
the enthusiasm of The supporters in the hours before the vote did not think of a distance as wide. In the center of Taipei and in the vicinity of the presidential palace, Have managed to concentrate tens of thousands of people. “We need you, to each one of you,” called one of the speakers. The public, the vast majority over forty years old and dressed in blue and red (the colors of the flag taiwanese), roars as a sign of approval. A huge badge circulates from hand to hand while chanting to the shouts of encouragement. They claim that the surveys are not reliable and that your candidate will have the best results that portend.
“A 30% advantage, as they some surveys, it is much —it is pointing to the professor Pao Cheng-Hao, of the Tamkang University and a supporter himself of the Kuomintang—. It is the equivalent of four million votes. It is more realistic to a distance of a million or half a million votes,” says the expert.
One of the keys will be in the participation. Professor Chen Kuang-Hui, of the University of National Chung Cheng, points out that the trend of abstention has been higher in the past calls and on this occasion “will probably increase a bit more yet. If you are perceived as an election where there is a real competition, some won't go to vote”. An apathy that may particularly affect young people, a sector that the DPP needs to consolidate a victoria clear. In the last few weeks has multiplied its efforts to mobilise them.Updated Date: 10 January 2020, 19:00