Taiwan electioneering risks Straits ties

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/2/20 20:03:40

Tsai Ing-wen told CNN in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that she will run for reelection as the island's leader in 2020. She believes that cross-Straits relations "weren't a key factor" in her party's setback at last year's elections, and "the people don't feel the result of the reform so much" because she has just started. 

After the local elections in 2018, Tsai resigned as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Since then, she has faced calls from senior members of her own party to not seek reelection. They asked her to immediately hand over administrative power and take a back seat.

It seems that Tsai has already managed to settle the rebellion within her party and regain control. Her announcement to CNN gained support from many DPP members. So far at least, the opponents have temporarily disappeared from the scene.

However, opinion polls on the island suggest that the prospects are grim for a Tsai victory.Although showing toughness toward mainland recently helped her win back some radical pro-independence voters, her current approval ratings are at rock bottom, lower than the Kuomintang's Han Kuo-yu and Eric Chu, and the non-partisan Ko Wen-je.

There should be a primary election within the DPP, but it is highly probable that Tsai will overwhelm her challengers through the plentiful interests she has mastered. In view of the low support for herself and her party, Tsai will undoubtedly play the cross-Straits card in the election with a more aggressive stance, rotting the Taiwan Straits peace.

Tsai's attitude is now completely different, as if she were not the same person in the 2016 election. Three years ago, she repeatedly asserted maintenance of the status quo and avoided challenging the Chinese mainland's bottom line - although she refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus.

Now she is more like a leading warrior of radical forces in Taiwan. The leader of the administrative authority she appointed has made countless Taiwan independence remarks. Tsai's administration is nibbling at Taiwan Straits' peace and stability.

The real fear is that Tsai's reelection will further agitate the fragile situation and lead to a new cross-Straits crisis. Tsai is clearly aware that her chances of winning are extremely low if she doesn't stir things up. 

What the DPP lacks is governing capacity as a whole. The party is best at electioneering, especially instigating voters by creating Taiwan's imaginary enemy. The DPP turns the so-called democracy into a hysterical struggle.

Taiwan is a small society, lacking the stability brought about by the checks and balances of various factors. Hence, it is possible to agitate a considerable number of people in a short period of time by starting a rumor or making a conspiracy in Taiwan.

On the day before the 2004 election, Chen Shui-bian got shot oddly and suddenly won a large number of votes and turned the tables. Tsai will definitely resort to extreme measures during her reelection campaign.

The Chinese mainland must fully prepare for new tensions across the Straits. We cannot intervene in the elections, but if Tsai and anyone else violate China's Anti-Secession Law, we must crack down on them. 

We must gradually regulate Taiwan's elections around the borders of cross-Straits questions. As the strength of the Chinese mainland rises year by year, helpful resources are increasing. We must dare to use and be skilled at using them.

Tsai must pay if she relies on Taiwan independence forces to win the election. The Chinese mainland must take actions even if it is also costly for us.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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