Taiwan’s ruling party fights to retain control of heartland
TAIPEI: Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is struggling to retain control of its southern heartland according to opinion polls ahead of major local elections next month in a key test for President Tsai Ing-wen.
The island-wide vote on Nov 24 is seen as a crucial barometer for Tsai as she battles against a backlash on domestic reforms and concerns over relations with China, which have become increasingly tense since she took office in 2016.
On Friday, the DPP’s candidate for Kaohsiung city mayor Chen Chi-mai described the competition as ‘tense’ with rival Han Kuo-yu from the opposition Kuomintang party.
“I still need the help of (Kaohsiung) city residents. I hope they will join me in this campaign battle,” said Chen, referring to the needs for more campaign funding.
The party has not lost control of the grass roots southern metropolis for 20 years and observers say it would be an unprecedented setback.
Mayoral elections in Taiwan’s six metropolitan regions will be the most-watched in the elections which cover seats from village level upwards.
The DPP currently controls 13 of the 22 cities and counties that will elect new chiefs, including four of the six top mayoral battlegrounds such as Kaohsiung.
In a poll released by cable channel TVBS on Tuesday, 52 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Han if tomorrow were the election day, compared with 47 per cent for Chen. — AFP