Beijing tries carrot and stick as Taiwan vote nears

Taipei, Jan. 6, 2016: Tsai Ing-wen (C), the presidential candidate from Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, prays during a campaign rally (source: dpa)
Taipei, Jan. 6, 2016: Tsai Ing-wen (C), the presidential candidate from Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, prays during a campaign rally (source: dpa)

Taiwan will hold presidential and legislative elections on January 16, 2016. Opinion polls show the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is set to win. If it does, writes GIS guest expert Dr Nicola Casarini, it will be the culmination of a trend that began with local elections in November 2014 when the country’s ruling party, the Kuomintang (KMT), suffered one of its worst ever defeats. The DPP, which had attacked the KMT’s efforts to forge closer economic ties with China, made big gains.

The results were a huge blow to Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou, who resigned from his post as KMT chairman. He was succeeded in that position by Eric Chu, now the KMT’s candidate for president. Beiji...

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