(TibetanReview.net, Nov25’23) – China’s hope for a new President of Taiwan amenable to its goal of eventual ‘reunification” of the island has suffered a blow with the two opposition parties amenable to it failing to agree on a common candidate to oppose the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate for the country’s Jan 2024 presidential election.
The two China-friendly opposition parties have failed to unite before Nov 24 candidate registration deadline for the presidential election. That clears the way to the presidency for ruling DPP candidate Lai Ching-te, reported the washingtontimes.com Nov 24.
An assembly of leading opposition politicians, meeting in one of Taipei’s top hotels in an attempt to find common ground ahead of the Nov 24 deadline, imploded in acrimony. And the fallout became clear when main opposition leader Hou You-ih of the KMT and dark horse Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) filed separate registration documents for the Jan 13 election.
The report said this was excellent news for the DPP’s Lai Ching-te, also known as William Lai, for according to poll numbers, a combined opposition would have defeated Mr Lai, but a divided camp leaves him comfortably ahead of both Mr Hou and Mr Ko.
Mr Lai is vice president under President Tsai In-weng who constitutionally cannot serve a third term. Their party, the DPP, is widely considered the most anti-Beijing of Taiwan’s political machines.
The report noted that the possibility of a DPP electoral defeat was briefly raised last week, when the KMT and TPP candidates announced plans to join hands. However, they failed to find common ground last weekend, and the Nov 23 meeting’s implosion doomed their plans.
Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Foxconn, a giant electronics-maker, who had campaigned as an independent, withdrew just before the filing of registration documents, leaving the field open for a three-way race.
The presidential election, which uses a direct, first-past-the-post system, has the potential to redefine Taiwanese relations with China at a fraught time. In the face of rising Chinese aggression, both opposition parties would adopt a more compromising stance towards the mainland. Both accuse the DPP of endangering Taiwan by being too “anti-China”, noted the economist.com Nov 24.
Surveys conducted between Nov 20 and 22 put Mr Lai on 31.5%, Mr Hou on 30.1% and Mr Ko on 26.7%. Yet the negotiations, which were due to be settled by polling data, fell apart over both opposition leaders’ demand to be the top dog, the report said.