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Taiwan Strait narrowed with the DPP defeat

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

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.

Although Taiwan's constitutional court ruled to legalize gay marriage a year ago, same-sex couples like Chen and Lee are waiting for the legal system to catch up.

Tsai has described the local elections as a way to "tell the world" that Taiwan will not bow to Beijing, which has increased military and diplomatic pressure since she took office in 2016.

Analysts and local media cited dissatisfaction with Tsai and the DPP rather than approval for the Nationalists, also known as the KMT, as a prime reason for the outcome.

"I resign as DPP chairperson". "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".

Meanwhile the China-friendly former ruling party KMT made a dramatic comeback, winning 15 of the 22 cities and counties in Taiwan.

The DPP used to control 13 cities and counties and four of Taiwan's special municipalities prior to Saturday's poll, but now only controls six cities and counties.

The Taipei mayoral seat is still to be announced.

While Saturday's polls were largely decided by local concerns, Beijing cast a heavy shadow after two years of unrelenting efforts to restrict Taiwan's participation in worldwide society and advertise its threat to use force to bring the island under its control.

Beijing has sought to punish Tsai and her pro-independence leaning party by ramping up military drills, poaching allies and successfully persuading global businesses including airlines to list the island as part of China on their websites.

"Chinese influence in Taiwanese elections reached a new level of intrusiveness", said Nottingham's Sullivan, adding that interference would be a factor to watch going into the 2020 leadership vote.

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The official China Daily said in an editorial Tsai had ignored Beijing's "cooperative stance" and forced relations into a deadlock, and that "her separatist stance has lost her the support of the people on the island".

Kuo, 40, said she was "saddened and disappointed" over the referendum result, but still felt encouraged that three million people had backed the pro-gay marriage vote.

A landmark court decision legalising gay marriage is still to be implemented and LGBT groups are concerned a referendum win for conservative campaigners could limit their newly won rights.

A setback in LGBT law was set by Taiwanese voters and passed a referendum asking that marriage be restricted to one man and one woman.

"Today, democracy taught us a lesson", the president said in Taipei on Saturday night.

"There's nothing wrong with loving someone of the same sex", she told AFP.

"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.

A referendum proposing to change the name under which Taiwan competes at worldwide sports events that has already angered China was defeated by 5.5 million votes, with 4.6 million in favor.

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

DPP supporters have been disappointed with Tsai's soft stance on the cross-strait policy and unwillingness to change the name of the island to Taiwan, South China Morning Post reported.

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