Opposition gains in Taiwan elections

HONG KONG - Support for Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party fell sharply in parliamentary elections at the weekend, with significant gains for the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a result that will not please Peking, writes Teresa Poole.

The new parliament will for the first time have a second party with enough seats to initiate legislation and to be an important voting block. On Saturday, for the first time since 1948, all seats were up for election, and political analysts welcomed the results as laying the groundwork for parliamentary democracy on the island.

After an election campaign dominated by allegations of vote- buying and a party split over Taiwan's future relationship with China, the KMT emerged with just 53 per cent of the vote, its lowest level yet, down from 61 per cent in the 1989 partial general elections. However, the ruling party was always guaranteed a safe majority, because the DPP did not field a full slate of candidates; official KMT candidates won 96 seats in the new 161-seat parliament and will have the support of about seven independents.

The DPP took 31 per cent of the votes, which means that their seats rise from 18 to 50. Independents took a total of 15 seats.

The DPP ran on a 'One China, One Taiwan' platform, although it toned down the aggressively pro-independence stance adopted in last year's National Assembly elections, when its support fell to 23 per cent. This time it put more emphasis on fighting corruption and on social and welfare issues.

In Peking, where there is already fury at sales of jet fighters to Taiwan by the United States and France, the support for candidates advocating that Taiwan seek greater international recognition will be most unwelcome. 'They won't like it,' said Byron Weng, Professor of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. 'In some (Peking) circles you may begin to observe a certain degree of mild siege mentality.'

Within the KMT, the battle lines are now drawn for a power struggle between the conservatives, who support the traditional 'One China' policy and the liberal Taiwanese mainstream, many of whose candidates lost out to those with clearer policies on the independence issue.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn