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Supporters of the opposition Kuomintang cheer in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Nov. 24, 2018 (AP photo).

Chinese Interference Casts a Dark Cloud Over Local Elections in Taiwan

Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, suffered a historic defeat in local elections last weekend that were overshadowed by an extensive Chinese interference campaign. Taking responsibility for her party’s midterm drubbing, President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as DPP leader on Saturday night, casting doubt on her prospects for winning a second term in national elections set to take place in early 2020.

Many observers had expected the opposition Kuomintang, or KMT, which favors closer ties with China, to make a comeback after losing both the presidency and a legislative majority in 2016. Anti-incumbency was in the air in the months leading up to election day, with opinion polls showing some of Tsai’s lowest approval ratings so far in her four-year term. But voters surpassed those expectations to deliver a stunning rebuke to the independence-leaning DPP, which managed to win only six of the 22 key races for mayoral and county magistrate positions. The party previously held 13 of those seats. ...

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