President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday suggested that tomorrow’s local elections should be considered a referendum on her leadership, saying a vote for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates would be an affirmation of her commitment to “take good care” of Taiwan and ensure peace with China.
The elections for city mayors, county commissioners, local councilors and borough wardens are ostensibly about domestic issues, and those elected do not have a direct say on national policies.
However, Tsai has reframed the campaign to put relations with China front and center.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
Tsai said in a video message that voting for DPP candidates was the same as voting for her.
“If you have not yet decided which city or county commissioner candidate to vote for, then I ask you to please cast this vote for me, for candidates I am recommending,” she said.
“Thank you for choosing Tsai Ing-wen the last time around, and I believe that I can take good care of Taiwan,” she added. “I am also very conscientious and responsible about Taiwan getting a firm footing internationally, and committed to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
The election is happening a month after the end of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, where Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) secured an unprecedented third term in office — a point Tsai has repeatedly made on the campaign trail.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which crushed the DPP in the 2018 local elections, has said it also is committed to protecting the nation’s democracy and freedom, but it has criticized the DPP for being overly confrontational with China.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who remains a senior KMT member, wrote on Facebook yesterday that voting for the DPP could bring war, and supporting the KMT would ensure peace.
"Choose peace and reject war!" he wrote.
Tsai has repeatedly offered to talk to Beijing on the basis of equality and respect, but has been rebuffed.
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