Chiang Kai-shek's Great-Grandson Claims Key Taiwan Poll Win
Comment of the Day

November 28 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Chiang Kai-shek's Great-Grandson Claims Key Taiwan Poll Win

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

According to Central Election Commission, KMT won 13 out of 21 cities and counties, while DPP only managed to secure five cities in the southern part of Taiwan, the least since its founding in 1986. KMT candidates took 50% of votes in the contests, versus 41.6% for the DPP, 11.39 million votes counted as of 11:53 pm in Taipei, according to the official election website.

That prompted President Tsai Ing-wen to step down as party leader, saying in televised remarks: “In the face of these results, there are many areas where we need to engage in self-reflection.”

The elections represented the last major test of Tsai’s DPP before her second and final term draws to a close and Taiwan picks a successor in early 2024. The KMT, or Nationalist Party, hopes the gains in local races will help it mount a comeback after defeats in presidential elections in 2016 and 2020.

The results will be closely watched in Washington and Beijing, since the DPP’s rise to power has prompted China to cut off communications with Taiwan and ramp up diplomatic and military pressure on the island. The KMT, which favors eventual unification with China, had previously overseen a historic expansion of ties with Beijing, easing travel, trade and investment across the Taiwan Strait.

Eoin Treacy's view

The Tsai administration has actively escalated tensions with China and the electorate does not want to be in a war with China. That does not mean they want to be part of China but not do they wish to do anything to antagonise China. Taiwan’s citizens are very much aware of the fine balance that needs to be maintained when squeezed between two great powers.

The bigger point is the Kuomintang’s origin is as a government in exile following the Nationalists defeat by the Communists. That’s why the island’s status is still contested. Within the next five years it is possible that Xi’s single person government will be gone. The masses of disaffected Xiang Zemin cadres could rally around the idea of peaceful reunification with Taiwan on the basis of Taiwanese officials forming a consultation group for the “eventual” adoption of democracy.

A Kuomintang government achieving its aims of reunification in victory would be a major coup for a new Chinese administration. That introduces even more urgency into the plans to reorient tech component manufacturing away from the island.

Back to top

You need to be logged in to comment.

New members registration