Taiwanese President Resigns As Party Head After KMT Oust Ruling Democratic Progressive Party 

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Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a humiliating defeat in the Taiwanese local elections held on Saturday (November 26) as voters chose to support the Kuomintang (KMT) in a show of dissatisfaction with the manner in which the island is becoming estranged from China. The Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the DPP shortly after the results, although she remains the island’s President – for now.

The elections were held to elect county magistrates (city mayors), county (city) councilors, township mayors, township councilors, and chiefs of the village (borough) in 6 municipalities and 16 counties (cities). Elected officials will serve a four-year term.

The election resulted in a big loss for the ruling DPP as all mayoral and magisterial candidates in the north were defeated. The KMT won thirteen mayoral or magisterial seats, and the DPP won five seats, while the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) gained their sole mayoral seat in Hsinchu City.

The election result was a significant defeat for the DPP and the worst-ever electoral performance in the party’s history. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whose strategy to frame local elections as showing defiance to China has failed, will now face intense pressure to resign as President.

The result swings the political pendulum back towards China as the KMT, despite being the opposition party to the Communists during China’s civil war, is in favor of retaining stronger trade and political ties with Beijing, whereas under the recent DPP government, ties worsened considerably with Taipei seemingly bent, with American encouragement, on deliberately creating trouble for China.

China and Hong Kong remain Taiwan’s largest export markets, accounting for 42 percent of Taiwan’s exports in 2021. Many Taiwanese businesses have been uneasy about rocking that boat and alarmed at a deterioration of political ties and a rise in the potential for military conflict. The significant gains by the KMT in Taiwan’s leadership will likely lessen these threats and position the island back to some sense of normalcy following months of Taiwan-China antagonism.

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