Polls open


The polls have opened for the Taiwan Presidential and general election. Around 17 million voters will choose from three candidates for the presidency, Ma Ying-jeou, the incumbent president and Kuomintang (KMT) leader, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and James Soong of the People First Party (PFP).

Voters will also be choosing from 410 candidates for the 113 seats in the legislative Yuan or parliament. 14,000 polling stations will remain open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time and each voter will have two votes for the legislative Yuan, one for a candidate and one for a party.

The presidential poll requires a simple majority with the result being announced on the 19th January.

The new government will take office on 1st February.

The presidential election is expected to be close between Ma and Tsai, with the last opinion polls about ten days ago suggesting that there was less than 3% difference between them (less than the margin of error in a typical poll).

The key issues have been the relationship between Taiwan or the Republic of China (ROC) and mainland China. Big business has benefited from those ties and incumbent President Ma has said that the economy has grown accordingly. Tsai Ing-wen, on the other hand, says that the gap between rich and poor has been growing wider, partly because of the dependency on big business ties; a view which has resonated with the people.

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