Taiwan Election; the President Called for Freedom and Democracy

Taiwan’s presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2020, with a tough challenge between two ideologies of pro-China and pro-independence. The election campaign started off by the two factions, the ‘Pan-Blue’ coalition represented by Kuomintang Party (KMT) and the ‘Pan-Green’ coalition led by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union to secure power.

The ongoing anti-government protests in China-ruled Hong Kong also occupied a key issue for the campaign on the eve of the election which is scheduled to vote from 8 AM (0000 GMT) to 4 PM (0800 GMT) on Saturday.

Nationalistic Agenda in the Election Campaign

During the election campaign, the incumbent President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen appealed the citizens to vote democracy and freedom. She told on Friday, January 10, 2020, during the campaign, “The world is watching the election, what choice Taiwan makes is an important matter.” Citing Taiwan as the only Chinese-speaking democracy, she claimed that “voting for her would be a vote for freedom.”

Referring to its Party stand, the President told reporters at a campaign event to also support her key member of DPP, Enoch Wu. Tsai added further, “To choose Tsai Ing-wen and Enoch Wu is to choose to stand together with democracy and freedom.” During the campaign, Tsai toured the capital, Taipei, early on Friday and several supporters took out colorful flags of the island.

The main opposition, KMT led by Han Kuo-yu is fighting the election against the DDP and its allied parties. Han’s KMT takes the pro-Beijing stance and talks about a close relationship with China as he believes that is the only way to ensure Taiwan’s security and prosperity. Han campaign secretary-general Tseng Yung-Chuan told a news conference, “Please come out to support Han Kuo-yu, whose vision for the country is ‘Taiwan safe, people get rich’ and ‘cross-strait peace’.”

China’s Threat and Taiwan’s Leaders Responses

China has been pressurizing Taiwan to come under the proposal made by the Chinese Government of ‘one country, two systems’ formula. The former British colony, Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula. Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that China could attack Taiwan since the latter country has rejected the proposed system. Taiwan people have fears that Beijing would gradually curb the autonomy of the city under the system.

China had earlier claimed that if required, it would use force to take control of Taiwan which is considered a sacred territory for the country. Taiwan has been asserting its position saying it is an independent country. The Chinese pressure in Taiwan was a key premise of the election campaign for DDP and other parties on Friday.

Referring to the reason for seeking a second term, Tsai reaffirmed, “More importantly, it shows our determination to defend our country and sovereignty.” However, both Tsai and Han have rejected China’s formula of “one country, two systems.” Taiwan people have extended their public sympathy to the present anti-government protest in Hong Kong and both the DPP and KMT expressed that they would help any Hong Kong people who fled from the city to the island.

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