Voters in Taiwan are expected to make history again when they go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president and legislature. China’s authoritarian government claims Taiwan as part of its territory, so any time the self-governing island holds an election, the world tends to pay attention. Taiwan held its first direct presidential election only 20 years ago. China’s president, by contrast, is selected by the governing Communist Party, not elected by the public. Tsai Ing-wen, the chairwoman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, is widely expected to become Taiwan’s first female president. Her party has traditionally favored formal independence for the island, so Beijing will not be pleased if she wins. Ms. Tsai, however, has pledged to maintain the cross-strait status quo. A victory for Ms. Tsai would be only the second time the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, has lost the presidency since Chiang Kai-shek’s forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
The Kuomintang, which has pursued closer engagement with China under the departing president, Ma Ying-jeou, could also lose control of the legislature, called the Legislative Yuan, for the first time.
Holding both the presidency and the legislature would give Ms. Tsai considerable power to pursue her party’s agenda. Her priorities include redressing injustices from Taiwan’s authoritarian past, reviving the economy and improving social safety nets.
Full Article: The Taiwan Elections: What to Expect – The New York Times.