Taiwan’s ruling KMT party was hit hard in a slew of local elections on Saturday. The party lost across the board, and Premier Jiang Yi-huah, head of the Cabinet, announced his resignation in response. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
The Nationalists lost eight city and county elections, including in longtime strongholds Taipei, the capital, and the major central city of Taichung. Pre-election polls had forecast defeats only in Taipei, Taichung and Keelung.The heavy losses point to an electorate that is souring on President Ma Ying-jeou’s forging of closer ties with mainland China, and will make it tougher for the Nationalists to hold onto the presidency in 2016.Premier Jiang Yi-huah — the head of the Cabinet — resigned Saturday night after the defeats, while Ma, who is also Nationalist Party chairman, said he would make changes.
Electoral setbacks for the KMT may have an impact outside Taiwan: It’s possible, for example, that concern over fallout in Taiwan was a factor leading to cautious approach toward Hong Kong democracy protests. If the pro-China KMT continues to lose at the polls, will Beijing feel more freedom to crackdown in Hong Kong?