Taiwan heads to the polls on Saturday with the island sitting in the center of a struggle for regional dominance between the United States and China.
“Taiwanese voters, for the first time, are voting between two candidates that have completely different visions of what Taiwan’s relationship is with China and the world,” said Shirley Lin, Compton Visiting Professor in World Politics at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia.
In the race are incumbent president Tsai Ing-wen from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Kuomintang (KMT) or Nationalist Party’s Han Kuo-yu, also the mayor of Kaohsiung city.
The presidential vote on January 11 is seen as a referendum on Taiwan’s identity, sovereignty and Chinese influence. Legislative elections will also be held on the same day, although the race is traditionally focused more on local issues and less on national sovereignty, noted Eurasia Group, the geopolitical consultancy.
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