Taiwan’s President Tsai resigns as party chair, China strategy at risk

“The DPP’s agenda-setting woes have implications for Chinese policy,” Sung said.

The DPP failed to convert heightened nationalist sentiment into electoral support despite tensions raised by the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February, an armada of Chinese naval vessels effectively blockading Taiwan during Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s refusal to rule at the 20th Party Congress in November has used violence against Taiwan.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen casts her vote at a polling station in Taipei on Saturday. Credit:Daniel Ceng

“The DPP is experiencing diminishing returns on its traditional form of Taiwanese nationalism,” Sung said.

Diplomatically, some pessimistic DPP-leaning commentators argue that if the election results in three-quarters of cities handing the mayoralty to China’s dove KMT, rather than Taiwan’s nationalist DPP… international observers will question the viability of DPP’s firm on China’s policy platform .”

Crucially, the DPP has failed to win over Hsinchu City, where the Taiwan People’s Party conducted a policy-free campaign across the Straits, and Taipei City, home to three of Taiwan’s former presidents.

Taiwan’s Digital Affairs Minister Audrey Tang attempted to separate the local and national election campaigns by stating that Saturday’s results would be based on responses to local issues such as waste collection, subsidies and roads, but the DPP campaign ran from headquarters and spread as far as the outlying islands of Penghu and Matsu were heavily focused on Taiwan’s response to China’s aggression.

“We must protect Taiwan’s democracy,” said Line Yen-feng, one of the DPP’s municipal candidates in Taipei.

Lin Yen-Feng, Dpp Member And Candidate For Taipei City Council.

Lin Yen-feng, DPP member and candidate for Taipei City Council. Credit:Daniel Ceng

DPP supporter Andy Chen, 23, said the local elections would have a major impact on national polls.

“I think it is strongly related to the presidential election. Because the way people vote this time will show what kind of message Taiwan wants to send to the whole world, as the agenda for DPP this time is to resist China and protect Taiwan.

But he said the DPP had struggled to get its message out and accused Beijing of spreading misinformation during the campaign. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Wednesday that there was actually less interference from Beijing during this election compared to other campaigns.

Young Dpp Supporters Cynthia Hsueh (Left) And Andy Chen (Center) And Huang Ing-Che At A Dpp Rally In Taipei.

Young DPP supporters Cynthia Hsueh (left) and Andy Chen (center) and Huang Ing-che at a DPP rally in Taipei. Credit:Daniel Ceng

Tsai will continue as president until her two terms expire in 2024. Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang tendered his resignation on Saturday after the party suffered heavy losses across the country. Tsai urged Su to stay on her leadership ticket as the DPP prepares for another challenge to the KMT presidency.

The face of that challenge is now likely to be Chiang, the Silicon Valley lawyer who returned to Taiwan to take over the KMT mantle from his grandfather, former President of Taiwan Chiang Ching-kuo, and great-grandfather Chiang Kai-shek.


“He’s the future,” said Gus Chen, a 34-year-old IT project manager. “He’s the next big thing.”

Chen said he would “party all night after” Chiang’s victory.

“The young generation believes in him,” he said. “People don’t have to worry about China attacking Taiwan, nothing has ever happened for the past 20 or 30 years.”

Young Kmt Supporter Gus Chen At A Kmt Rally.

Young KMT supporter Gus Chen at a KMT rally. Credit:Daniel Ceng

Despite his nationalist anti-Beijing pedigree, Chiang has criticized the DPP for damaging its business relationship with China. He has also made it clear that he is not in favor of unification with the mainland.

“Taiwan’s major business groups have urged both Taiwan and China to prioritize civil and economic needs,” Chiang said in August. “The KMT would try to understand the need of young people in startups, Taiwanese companies and students to continue bilateral talks.”

In his victory speech on Saturday night, Chiang said nothing would “stop Taipei from moving forward”.

“I will remember my promise to all residents, take the lead in realizing Taipei’s full potential, and make it shine on the global stage,” he said.

With Daniel Ceng

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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