Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who is known to be tough on China, resigned as head of the Democratic Progressive Party in their country after losing several local elections on Saturday, according to The Daily Caller.
A report by the Associated Press, the Taiwanese polls to select mayors for city council members and other local leaders in all 13 counties and in nine cities focused on more regional issues, which took precedence over worries about potential threats from China, Taiwan’s adversary, and the territorial claimant.
During her party’s election campaign, Tsai frequently said she was “opposing China and defending Taiwan.”
However, the party’s unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Taipei Chen Shih-chung only briefly brought up the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party before rapidly shifting the conversation back to local concerns.
After a significant defeat, Tsai customarily offers her resignation on Saturday night in a brief address during which she also expresses her gratitude to her supporters.
“I must shoulder all the responsibility,” she said. “Faced with a result like this, there are many areas that we must deeply review.”
Although the ruling party and international observers have made an effort to tie the elections to the long-term existential threat posed by Taiwan’s neighbor, many local experts do not believe China had a significant influence this time around.
“The international community has raised the stakes too high. They’ve raised a local election to this international level, and Taiwan’s survival,” said Yeh-lih Wang, a political science professor at National Taiwan University.
There were few references to the extensive military drills China conducted in August against Taiwan in response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit during the campaign.
“So I think if you can’t even raise this issue in Taipei, you don’t even need to consider it in cities in the south,” Wang said.
Taiwan’s capital Taipei, together with Taoyuan, Taichung, and New Taipei City, elected candidates from the Nationalist party to the position of mayor.
In all 13 counties and nine cities, Taiwanese citizens elected mayors, members of city councils, and other municipal officials. A referendum to decrease the voting age from 20 to 18 was also held, but it was lost, according to regional media.
The new mayor of Taipei, Chiang Wan-an, made his victory speech Saturday night at a sizable rally. He declared, “I would let the world witness Taipei’s brilliance.
Chiang and the other candidates were able to declare victory even though not all votes had been officially tabulated by the time of his address.