Taiwan’s incumbent leader Tsai Ing-wen, a frontrunner in major pre-election opinion polls with results indicating a landslide win for her if the island’s presidential race is held right away, is now setting eyes on securing a majority for her Democratic Progressive Party in the new Legislative Yuan.

Tsai told supporters on her stumping tour during the past weekend that even with her reelection, it would be difficult to pursue policies not only on defense and national security but also on people’s livelihoods without a legislative majority for the DPP.

She cited the swift legislation of a new anti-infiltration law as an example of the synergy needed for effective governance. The DPP-controlled Legislative yuan brushed aside opposition from minor parties and passed the law on the last day of 2019 to fend off Chinese spies and deter Taiwanese from working for Beijing.

Tsai’s first campaign stop on “Super Sunday” ahead of Saturday’s polls was the southern Tainan County. She told an audience of some 150,000 locals there that if the DPP did not win a legislative majority, it would be difficult for her to deliver on reform promises, thus people who would support her must also vote for the candidates fielded by the DPP to contest for seats in the legislature.

One campaign in Tainan over the past weekend attracted 150,000 attendees, according to Tsai’s election office. Photo: Facebook
Tsai is riding a wave of support in southern Taiwan, her traditional base, while young voters with strong anti-Beijing ethos also back her. Photo: Facebook

With the whole world watching Hong Kong’s protests and whether Taiwan would compromise on or uphold its sovereignty, everybody must safeguard the nation by casting the right votes, Tsai said.

Tsai stumped with her running mate William Lai, who served as the island’s premier under Tsai, as well as six DPP legislative candidates, in whirlwind visits to five cities throughout Taiwan over the past weekend, when her arch rivals, the opposition Kuomintang party’s Han Kuo-yu and the People First Party’s James Soong, were all making their finch pitches for themselves.

During the next few days until Friday, Tsai will be traveling up the island’s west coast.

The DPP controls 69 out of the 113-seat current-term legislature.

It is believed that the DPP will remain its control of the legislature, when Beijing’s perceived inaction to address protesters’ calls in Hong Kong and the Chinese military’s renewed maneuvers, including the passage of China’s first homemade aircraft carrier, the Shandong, via the Taiwan Strait at the end of last month, have in turn strengthened the base of Tsai and the DPP, Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency quoted Tsai’s advisors as saying.

“When people vote for Tsai, they will also vote for the DPP, and the campaigns by Tsai and DPP candidates can feed off each other,” said a senior DPP member.

Meanwhile, Tsai also won an online mock election conducted recently, grabbing 80% of the vote, as participants, mostly young netizens, ditched pro-Beijing candidates.

The mock poll was conducted by the National Students’ Union of Taiwan in partnership with student bodies at 35 universities across the island, which invited college students to indicate their pick on a Facebook page. Voting took place from last Thursday to Sunday, and a total of 11,369 valid votes were cast.

Taiwan will go to the polls this Saturday to not only elect the island’s president but also lawmakers for the next four years.

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