Taiwan’s TAIPEI (AP) — On Saturday, Taiwan held its closely watched local elections. Voters put other urgent issues closer to home. Like air pollution and bad traffic, ahead of lingering worries about the threat posed by its enormous neighbor China.
In all 13 counties and nine cities, the Taiwanese chose their mayors, city council members, and other local leaders. The voting age is lowered from 20 to 18 through a referendum is also on the ballot.
Many local experts do not believe China will significantly influence this election cycle. Despite efforts by international observers and the ruling party. To link the results to the long-term existential threat posed by Taiwan’s neighbor.
“The international community has too highly raised the stakes. Political science professor at National Taiwan University Yeh-lih Wang said, “They’ve elevated a local election to this international level, and Taiwan’s survival.”
There are few references to the extensive military drills China conducted in August. Against Taiwan in response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit during the campaign.
So, Wang reasoned, “I don’t think you can even bring up this issue in Taipei.” In southern cities, you don’t even have to think about it.
Instead, campaigns steadfastly concentrated on the local. Including Taichung’s central city’s air pollution, Nangang’s traffic jams, and the island’s COVID-19 vaccination purchasing strategies. Which left the island without enough vaccines during an outbreak last year.
Young and old voters came early in New Taipei City. The city that encircles Taipei’s capital, to cast their votes at an elementary school despite the rain.
The 60-year-old Yu Mei-zhu claimed she came to vote for the re-election of Mayor Hou You-Yi. “I want to continue to support him because I believe he has done well. I have faith in him and know he can help New Taipei City’s environment and transportation system.
Many voters are taken aback when President Tsai Ing-wen arrived early on Saturday morning to cast her vote. As her security detail and entourage swept through the school. She then urged everyone in Taiwan to cast a ballot.
Tsai, the founder and head of the Democratic Progressive Party, frequently stated during campaigns that she is “opposing China and defending Taiwan.” However, experts said that Chen Shih-Chung, a candidate for the DPP running for mayor of Taipei. Only briefly brought up the threat posed by the Communist Party. Before quickly returning to local issues due to a lack of interest.
The final week before the elections fills with candidates’ public appearances. The DPP’s Chen marched through Taipei on Sunday with a sizable parade that included international performers and dancers dressed as dinosaurs. While independent candidate Vivian Huang perused the market’s food stands for lunch, Chiang Wan-an, a mayoral candidate for the Nationalist party, canvassed at a hardware market. The renowned night markets in Taipei were visited by all three.
The Nationalists and the current DPP are the two main political parties on the island; it is to see how they will fare. Because Tsai and Eric Chu, the Nationalist party’s chair, both hand-selected candidates, the outcome will affect their standings and the party’s viability over the next two years.
The ability of the DPP to rule will face a very strong challenge, according to You Ying-lung, chair of the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, which regularly polls the general public on political matters.
You mentioned that the election results would, in some ways, also represent how the populace felt about the ruling party’s performance over the previous two years.
People are also keeping an eye on the results to see if any of the Taiwan People’s Party’s candidates for mayor of Taipei, Ko Wen-Je, will win. According to analysts, Ko’s party’s political success on Saturday will impact his 2024 presidential campaign. Ko has been running a campaign with his assistant, independent mayoral candidate Huang for the past few weeks.
Hsian Fuh Mei, the owner of a food stand, declared his support for Huang.
He said, “We want to see someone from abroad. “If you compare us to Singapore, we used to be better, but we’ve slipped. I’m hoping we can turn around.
Some people showed less interest in the local race. Sean Tai, a 26-year-old worker at a hardware store, said, “From a policy standpoint, it feels as if everyone is almost the same.”
Tai would not say who he was supporting, but he said he wanted someone who would improve Taipei’s standing and economic prospects while maintaining the status quo with China. “We don’t want to be cut off entirely. I sincerely hope Taiwan can abroad,” he said.