The lead-up to the mid-January election is happening during a period of heightened tensions between Taipei and Beijing. Despite Taiwan’s strong opposition, Beijing has been carrying out regular military drills near Taiwan to reinforce its claims of sovereignty over the democratic island.
According to a senior party source, Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), will select New Taipei City mayor Hou Yu-ih as its presidential candidate for the upcoming election in early next year, as reported by Reuters on Wednesday.
This decision comes amidst growing tensions between Taipei and Beijing leading up to the mid-January vote. Beijing has been conducting frequent military drills near Taiwan, despite Taiwan’s firm opposition, in an attempt to assert its sovereignty claims over the island, which is governed democratically.
The Kuomintang (KMT), Taiwan’s main opposition party, holds a pro-China stance, advocating for strong ties with China. On the other hand, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) promotes Taiwan’s distinct identity and independence.
According to a senior party source, the KMT plans to officially declare New Taipei City mayor Hou Yu-ih as their presidential candidate later today. Another party source confirmed that Hou is widely anticipated to secure the candidacy within the party. Both sources opted to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the subject.
According to recent reports in Taiwan media, it is expected that New Taipei City mayor Hou Yu-ih will be chosen as the Kuomintang’s (KMT) candidate for the 2024 presidential election. He is anticipated to face off against William Lai, Taiwan’s vice president and a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Hou, a 65-year-old former head of the National Police Agency, gained popularity after his re-election victory in New Taipei City in the previous year’s local election, where the KMT significantly outperformed the DPP.
While the KMT denies being pro-Beijing, it supports maintaining positive relations with China and proposes the concept of both sides being part of a single China while allowing different interpretations of the term.
Despite their differences with China, the DPP has made repeated offers for talks with Beijing, which have been rejected.
In the lead-up to the 2024 election, the KMT has framed it as a choice between war and peace, emphasizing stability, while the DPP’s Lai has urged voters to prioritize “democracy” over authoritarianism.