Tai­wan’s rul­ing party fights to re­tain con­trol of heart­land

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - WORLD -

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

CHEN CHI-MAI

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