The Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), two opposition parties in Taiwan that want deeper links with China, filed individual presidential candidates on Friday. This might bolster the standing of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has withstood pressure from Beijing, after an unsuccessful effort to establish a unified ticket.
Although the KMT and TPP had originally decided to work together to oppose the DPP, they were unable to come to an agreement on a joint presidential ticket. To improve their prospects against the DPP, a “blue-white” ticket representing the colors of the rival parties was suggested. According to polls, the most likely candidate to take against Vice President William Lai Ching-te, the DPP’s nominee, was one who had the support of both parties.
In a last session of talks on Thursday, the two opposition parties, who have been in talks since October, were unable to settle a disagreement over the joint candidate selection procedure.
Hou Yu-ih, the presidential candidate of the major opposition Kuomintang (KMT), will face Ko Wen-je of the smaller Taiwan People’s Party (TPP). While the TPP selected one of its MPs, Cynthia Wu, as Hou’s running partner, the KMT selected pro-China media personality Jaw Shaw-kong.
With Hsiao Bi-khim, Taipei’s former ambassador to the US, as his running partner, Vice President William Lai is the DPP’s nominee. The DPP supports the idea that the people of Taiwan should decide their own destiny.
China has rejected offers of discussions with the DPP and its presidential candidates because it views them as dangerous separatists and has presented the election as a choice between “peace and war”.
Taiwan Election, 2024:
The stakes are high as voters in Taiwan prepare for the January 13, 2024 election. The two major political parties, the DPP and the KMT, provide different cross-strait policies. By resuming talks with China, the pro-unification KMT hopes to reduce tensions by claiming that both sides of the strait are part of one nation.
The pro-independence DPP, on the other hand, supports enhancing military deterrence via higher defense expenditure and reform while fostering closer connections with the US and its allies.
The US is legally obligated to support Taiwan in self-defense even if it does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent state. It also opposes any coercive alteration to the status quo.
Nothing will change in Beijing’s view of Taiwan as a separatist province that has to be rejoined with the mainland, even if it means using force, should the DPP win.