2 women to vie in Taiwan presidential election

She will face off against another female candidate in a historic first.


Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang on Sunday nominated pro-mainland Hung Hsiu-chu as its candidate for presidential elections in January, ending months of division in the party following heavy losses at local elections.

Ms Hung, 67, will take on Ms Tsai Ing-wen, chairman of the main opposition pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, with Taiwan’s China policy at the heart of the duel.

He called for solidarity among party members in an effort to unite all forces to win the 2016 presidential and legislative elections.

Thousands of young people occupied Taiwan’s parliament in March 2014 in an unprecedented protest against a planned trade pact calling for closer ties with Beijing.

What may be unique about Taiwan’s situation, though, is having female candidates run on behalf of both major parties, Nationalist party spokesman Philip Yang told Voice of America. However, she said society accepts the leadership of women over age 50 because they historically ran clans in China, where Taiwan’s culture originates. One third of Taiwanese legislators are female, compared to 13% in Japan and 16% in South Korea. Women have been elected to the highest government office in South Korea, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and India.

Beijing claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and insists that the two sides eventually reunite.

Hung had advocated unification with China however was just lately stopped by senior party members, as almost all of Taiwanese choose the established order.

Massachusetts reiterated during his speech at the congress that the “1992 consensus” – one China, different interpretations – should be the most important guideline for relations between Taiwan and China.

The race between Hung and Tsai remains tough. Without a framework for dialogue, tensions could rise again, making new agreements hard. Massachusetts must step down in May due to term limits.

But Ms Hung, known as “xiao la jiao” or “little hot pepper” for her straightforwardness, has been undeterred. “Hung is an unexpected, even odd, choice for nominee”, says an expert. “What seems to be most clear is that Taiwan’s voters are ready for a female president”.

“This moment is for the KMT to stand together and start again”, he said. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.


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Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen waves at the close of a press conference in Taipei Taiwan Wednesday