Taiwan’s main opposition party said Sunday its chairwoman, who adopts a moderate approach toward China, has won her re-election and will run in key municipal elections in December.
Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party said in a statement Tsai Ing-wen won her second term by defeating former lawmaker Yu Chin in Sunday’s elections.
The DPP said in a separate statement that Tsai will run in December’s key municipal elections in five large constituencies on the party’s behalf. The five constituencies are Taipei City, Taipei County, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City.
Although the DPP did not say which constituency Tsai will run in, it is widely expected that she will run for magistrate of Taipei County against former vice Premier Eric Chu of ruling China-friendly Nationalist Party.
Many think Tsai’s December performance will make or break her chances to challenge China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou in the 2012 presidential polls.
Tsai first took the helm at the DPP in May 2008 when her party was crushed by the Nationalists in the presidential polls two month earlier following a series of corruption scandals surrounding the family of former President and party Chair Chen Shui-bian.
Under Tsai’s leadership, the DPP gradually regained its credibility and managed to win a number of key regional elections over the past year by relentlessly attacking Ma’s China engagement programme.
The DPP says Ma’s overzealousness to increase trade exchanges with China will eventually hurt Taiwan’s economy and sovereignty, a charge Ma denies.
Although she has questioned Ma’s China approach, Tsai has also taken departure from her predecessor’s fierce anti-China stand and expressed interests in exchanges with Beijing.
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing still claims Taiwan as part of its territory.