Taiwan president Tsai resigns as party chair after election losses

Taiwan votes on gay marriage, controversial name change

Beijing Ramps Up Pressure After Taiwan Pro-Independence Party Sees Heavy Losses

"Caution in cross-Strait policy has delivered nothing - China won't work with her and has really stepped up its pressure across the board, so its hard to see what Tsai loses by pursuing the more robust path the pro-Taiwan base demands".

Since Taiwan held its first direct presidential election in 1996, Beijing's authoritarian regime has sought to influence political parties into adopting more Beijing-friendly policies.

The DPP has now been left in control of only six of Taiwan's cities and counties, compared with at least 15 for the Kuomintang.

Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost both in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, where it had held power for 20 years, and in the central city of Taichung.

"Facing all sorts of challenges at home and from overseas, insisting on doing the right thing was like walking on a path thickly sown with thorns that was bound to leave us with wounds", Tsai said.

Electors were also asked to vote in a series of referendums, including on whether the island should join the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as Taiwan, rather than "Chinese Taipei" - the name agreed under a compromise signed in 1981.

Jennifer Lu, the spokesperson for Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, said they were saddened by what she described as the "absurd referendums" and blamed government "incompetence" for allowing the anti-gay marriage votes to go ahead. "We must study and accept the higher expectations that the people have placed on us".

"The results indicate the public are strongly dissatisfied with the performance of Tsai and used their ballots to teach her a lesson", Wang Kung-yi, a political-science professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) Saturday. The KMT mayoral candidate for Taipei Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) filed a lawsuit on Sunday after Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) beat him by a razor thin margin of only 0.23 percent.

As for public sentiment regarding Taiwan's relations with China, Taiwanese online media Up Media, in an opinion article published on November 25, pointed out that neither DPP nor KMT candidates mentioned at length their positions with regard to their China policy, indicating that there is a consensus among the general Taiwanese public that unification with China isn't an option.

Chinese state-run media on Monday (Nov 26) blamed the electoral defeat of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's party on her "separatist stance", saying it must make an "about-face" on ties with the mainland. Beijing has been ratcheting up pressure on the island it claims as its own territory by poaching its diplomatic partners and barring its representatives from global gatherings, while staging threatening military exercises and limiting the numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan.

Supporters of the opposition Nationalist Party celebrate in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Thus, the defeat of DPP candidate Chen Chi-mai by KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu was considered a major upset.

The Kuomintang once ruled China before fleeing to Taiwan in 1949 after losing China's civil war to the Communists.

Saturday's results also throw Tsai's political future into question. While the International Olympic Committee had already ruled out a name change, the vote was seen as a test to gauge support on the island for independence.

Tseng said the Coalition for the Happiness of our Next Generation would "see that the government revise or institute relevant laws and implement the relevant education guidelines for the school curriculums in line with the results".

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