By: Christopher Bodeen and Johnson Lai, Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China’s pressure campaign looms large as Taiwan holds local elections Saturday in what is seen partly as a referendum on the policies of independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen.
Driven from power two years ago, the opposition Nationalists are hoping to regain territory by leaning on their pro-business image and a more accommodating line toward Beijing, which detests Tsai for her refusal to endorse its stance that the self-governing island democracy is a part of the Chinese nation.
The China factor and the potential impact on the next presidential election are giving added weight to the polls, said Alexander Huang, strategic studies professor at Taiwan’s Tamkang University.
“It’s more important than the usual local elections,” Huang said. “Confidence has been disrupted by the overall environment and the difficult relationship with the mainland.” [FULL STORY]