Voting in the presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan has began on Saturday. As people go to the voting booths to vote for their preferred leader or party, the Taiwan elections will be closely looked upon by Beijing which claims the small island as its own and for decades has refused to accept its sovereignty.
The unrest in Hong Kong that has been going on for months as Hong Kong attempts to resist Chinese heavy-handedness will be a major factor in the elections and have an effect of voting because China wishes Taiwan to accept Chinese rule under the 'one country, two systems' model that operates in Honk Kong as well.
Voting began at 8am (local time) and long queues were seen outside the voting booths, President Tsai Ing-wen cast her vote in Taipei and told reporters that she wishes that everyone exercises their right to vote. Tsai has in the weeks leading up to the elections has repeatedly denounced Chinese underhanded attempts to influence Taiwanese voters and believes that only Taiwan's people have the right to choose Taiwan's future.
Our friends in #Taiwan , do not waste your vote by not voting. #HongKong last seven months proved how important democracy and freedom is. Vote for the candidate that cares about #Taiwanese , not kowtow to money and power, and keep promise to you#FightForFreedom #TaiwanElection— NormalPerson (@AbcPassby) January 11, 2020
Tsai's main opponent in the elections, Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang favours close ties with China but even he has reportedly rejected the 'one country, two systems' model in light of the Hong Kong protests. Han has promised the people to strengthen ties with China instead of in an attempt to boost Taiwan's economy.
Taiwan is voting until midnight PST. The Presidential and Parliamentary elections are held concurrently.— Election Watcher (@CdnElectWatch) January 11, 2020
Incumbent: Tsai Ing-Wen, DPP (centre-left, against closer relations with China)
Main challenger: Han Kuo-Yu, KMT (centre-right, pro-détente)
One minor 3rd-party candidate
According to reports, political analysists in Taiwan predict a parliamentary victory for Tsai's DPP. Recently, the Democratic Progressive Party, known as the DPP, rushed through a law banning “infiltration” by outsiders just days before the vote. The opposition Nationalist Party, which is friendly to China, contends the law might be abused to stifle freedom of speech and is seeking for shift attention toward domestic issues. A third candidate, James Soong, has also objected to the move.