China welcomes defeat of Taiwan's ruling DPP in local elections

28 November, 2018, 07:35 | Author: Donnie King
  • Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change

CNN quoted Central News Agency (CNA), a state-owned news agency operated by the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), reporting that Tsai apologised to the supporters of the party for the "disappointing performance" in a speech at its headquarters.

With pressure from Beijing at play in the vote result, analysts say Tsai will need to recalibrate her policy.

The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), which oversaw an unprecedented thaw with Beijing before Tsai took office in 2016, made gains in the face of China's increasing pressure on the island, which it considers as part of its territory to be reunified.

As well as voting for seats from village to city level, there were 10 referendums on the ballot, including pro- and anti-gay marriage proposals.

Conservative groups asked whether the legislation - defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman in Taiwan's Civil Code - should remain unchanged, while the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists demanded equal marriage rights.

Taiwan is still awaiting the result of a closely watched referendum on gay marriage, with activists fearing a win for conservative "pro-family" campaigners would turn back the clock on the island's reputation as a trailblazer for marriage equality.

"The only correct way to advance prosperity between the people of the two sides and eliminate differences is through communication and exchanges without political preconditions", the council said.

Taiwan's government has not yet responded to the referendum result and what impact it will have.

Taiwan's top court in May 2017 legalised same-sex marriage - the first place in Asia to do so - and called for it to be implemented within two years.

Now, the public will get a chance to vote on whether that becomes law.

Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change
Taiwan mid-terms: Electorate turns away from ruling Democratic Progressive Party

Since the DPP came to power, the relationship with mainland China - which is becoming increasingly assertive - has significantly deteriorated.

The elections also chose city councilors and village leaders. Taiwan is not recognized as a country by most countries; although it is a de facto independent state, China sees it as a renegade province.

The elections for mayors and thousands of local posts were seen as a key test for the 2-year-old administration of Tsai, whom Beijing has relentlessly attacked over her refusal to endorse its claim that Taiwan is a part of China.

Based on the way society has reacted to annual gay pride parades, acceptance of gay people did not seem to be a problem, but the results on the question about same-sex marriage suggest Taiwan is not ready for such a change, Chen said.

Ma Xiaoguang added that China would continue "to resolutely oppose separatist elements advocating "Taiwan independence" and their activities". Beijing has denied the allegations.

One lesson that perhaps the KMT has learned and the DPP should learn is that if they push Taiwan toward a path that would lead to merging with China or potential conflict with the mainland, they risk losing elections.

The KMT promotes better ties - and eventual unification - with China.

But others said she may still run, in the absence of an obvious successor. With the pension cuts, labour reforms, and the tensions with mainland China, it is only natural for uncertainty and dissatisfaction with current leadership to surface in the time of the local election.

China has sought to isolate Tsai over her refusal to endorse its "one China" principle that designates Taiwan as a part of China.

The proposal to use the name Taiwan at future worldwide sports events was opposed by China, which considers Taiwan a part of its territory.



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