China heaps pressure on Taiwan president after election defeat

China heaps pressure on Taiwan president after election defeat

A massive defeat for Taiwan's ruling party in mid-term polls Saturday was seen as an indictment of President Tsai Ing-wen and called into question her approach to China, as well as unpopular domestic reforms.

Taiwan's Investigation Bureau also says it is probing Chinese influence on the elections through campaign funding of candidates.

Tseng Hsien-yin, leader of the Coalition for the Happiness of our Next Generation, a group that opposes gay marriage, said the decision reflected the will of the voters.

Following the drubbing the DPP took on Saturday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday stepped down as Chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, while Premier William Lai (賴清德) offered to resign as Prime Minister and Chen Chu (陳菊) offered to resign as Presidential Secretary-General.

In response to Taiwan's election results, the Party's mouthpiece newspaper People's Daily published a November 25 editorial on its official WeChat account, a social-media platform, stating that the DPP's defeat was to be expected because it represents "useless and terrifying ideologies".

The majority of voters approved a measure Saturday stating "Civil Code regulations should restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman" and two other measures opposing same-sex marriage while rejecting measures to legalize same sex marriage and asking if civil code marriage regulations "should be used to guarantee the rights of same-sex couples to get married".

The largest city in the DPP's southern heartland has been governed by the party ever since 1998.

In an Asian first, Taiwan's constitutional court declared in May of last year that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry, and set a two-year deadline for legalisation.

CNN reports that there is "broad disagreement" among legal experts in Taiwan as to whether the government is mandated to make the referendum result law.

Tawian gay same sex marriage

In a statement, Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan said it was "deeply saddened" by the referendum results and "all progressive causes have suffered the backlash of conservative forces".

The DPP has now been left in control of only six of Taiwan's cities and counties, compared with at least 15 for the China-friendly Kuomintang party.

Since taking office in 2016, Beijing has ramped up military drills near Taiwan's coast, sparking fears that it might use its military to bar Taiwan from declaring full independence.

Beijing has intensified pressure on Taiwan under Tsai, upping military drills, poaching diplomatic allies and successfully convincing worldwide businesses to list Taiwan as part of China on their websites. Ahead of the elections, Tsai's government had accused China of attempting to sway voters through fake news, which Beijing denied. As in previous elections it also tried to fuel fears about China.

By most economic metrics, Tsai hasn't performed badly as president.

Observers put the results down to anger over pension cuts and labor reforms, including slashing the number of public holidays, as well as concern that tensions with Beijing are damaging local business.

The spokesman also said the defeat of a referendum proposition that the island should seek to compete in the 2020 Olympics as Taiwan, rather than Chinese Taipei, showed that putting Taiwanese athletes' interests at stake "was against the will of the people".

Voters line up to cast their ballots in Taipei on Saturday.

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