Tsai Ing-wen’s closing campaign speech made before the Jan 16 polls
Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, known to be part of the pan-Green camp, has won the island’s most important elections against the Kuomintang, which belongs to the pan-Blue camp.
The departure of Ma Ying-jeou, of the KMT, who has to step down after his maximum 2 terms of presidency expires, also signalled the downfall of the previous ruling party helmed by a weak and disunited leadership and an apparent lack of competency in governance and alleviating the people’s wariness of issues such as relationship with the mainland and solving the everyday problems faced by ordinary citizens.
Taiwan has witnessed a change of party today, the third of its kind since the island saw its first in 2000. In 1987, Chiang Ching-kuo, son of Chiang Kai-shek, started liberalising Taiwan’s politics from martial law, and subsequently introduced Parliamentary elections and Presidential elections.
Ever since, Taiwan has been known as the “only Chinese democracy in the world”, as China is under a communist party dictatorship, while Hong Kong does not enjoy full democracy being under British colonial rule before 1997 and within China’s strong arms after.
Hence, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will become Taiwan’s first female President, who has gained more than 58 percent of the votes at half count. Eric Chu, the KMT contender, trailed second at 32 percent. A third contender, Blue-leaning James Soong, of the People First Party, came in with 9 percent.
Taiwan has seen a recent increase in support for Tsai’s party as the electorate are uneasy about common day economic stagnation problems and the former president’s signing of trade agreements with the mainland that have failed to benefit the ordinary people.
The DPP, headed by Tsai, will take less of a kowtow stance towards the mainland, although it is expected, as before, to also continue to deal with China to reach economic and cooperation benefits.
China has also historically worked with both the KMT and the DPP when they were in power, and has frowned only against a “Taiwan independence” declaration, other than which things can still be discussed as long as both sides agree to the “status quo” of “One China” on two sides.
Taiwan sees itself as part of the Republic of China, the China before the communists took over in Beijing in 1949, while the mainland says the People’s Republic of China has 23 provinces including the province of Taiwan. This “One China” principle was further christened under the 1992 Consensus reached between the CCP and the KMT.
China has of course been more supportive of the KMT than the DPP, which had previously campaigned for Taiwan independence under Chen Shui-bian, despite the fact that the former should also be its arch enemy since it lost to the CCP in the 1949 battle, and had in earlier years raised the prospect of “taking back the mainland”.
Taiwan’s elections on Jan 16 includes the Presidential vote, the Party vote, as well as the Parliamentary vote, which the KMT is also in danger of losing hugely.
This political change in Taiwan, one of the biggest of its kind, are expected to be heralded as a good thing by Hong Kongers who see themselves being increasingly swallowed by the CCP’s jaws and losing its citizens’ rights and dignity.