Elections in Taiwan: what's at stake?

Taiwan will hold parliamentary and presidential elections on Saturday, amid growing pressure from China. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with Vice President Lai Ching-te as its candidate is ahead in the polls, but its lead is shrinking. The largest opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), advocates a more conciliatory approach towards Beijing. The Taiwan People's Party (TPP) seeks a middle course.

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Diena (LV) /

Avoid radical decisions

Diena hopes for prudence:

“On 13 January both presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in Taiwan, the results of which could lead to a significant escalation of tensions between the US and China. ... The outcome of the elections is difficult to predict and the losers may try to contest the results, including through protests. As for international politics, we can only hope that Taiwan's new leaders, regardless of which party they represent, avoid radical decisions. Otherwise, there could be unpredictable consequences.”

Kurier (AT) /

Europe dependent on Taiwan

Kurier notes:

“For Europe and the rest of the world, there are two scenarios: if the opposition wins, China will have succeeded in influencing free elections using intimidation tactics. ... If Lai wins, the tensions between China and the US will probably increase. That would be fatal, even without military escalation, because we're all economically dependent on the island: hardly any modern electronic device works without semiconductor chips made there. Nine thousand kilometres lie between Vienna and Taipei, yet the election in Taiwan is decisive for our economy and our democracy, too. This is the price we pay for being part of the modern, globalised world.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

A very dangerous situation

An attack by China on Taiwan could put world peace in jeopardy, fears Helsingin Sanomat:

“If China is looking for a time to attack Taiwan, it could come to the conclusion that now is the best moment. The US is preoccupied with Ukraine, the Gaza Strip and its own presidential election. ... The US has tried to show what an attack on Taiwan would mean for China in world trade by imposing sanctions on China's semiconductor industry. ... A war over Taiwan would change the balance of great power politics. We would be on the brink of a world war.”