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    Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party mayoral candidate Sean Lien, center, bows as he concedes lost in the Taipei mayoral election at his party's headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan

    Taiwan Cabinet Resigns After Local Elections

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    Taiwan’s cabinet has formally resigned after the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party defeated the ruling Kuomintang in the largest local elections held on November 29.

    MOSCOW, December 1 (Sputnik) — Taiwan’s cabinet has formally resigned following the massive defeat of the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party, Kuomintang or KMT, in Saturday’s elections, AFP reports.

    81 ministers will still continue to work until their successors are chosen. "As the cabinet is now entering into the caretaking period, I want to implore you to continue carrying out your roles until the new cabinet is formed… Hopefully the period won’t last too long," Jiang Yi-huah, the island’s prime minister, said in a statement, as quoted by AFP. Jiang Yi-huah stepped down hours after poll results were announced.

    The largest local elections in Taiwan were held on November 29. Approximately 20,000 candidates were running for 11,130 local government and legislative offices. Voter turnout has been estimated to be as high as 70 percent, according to the Global Times.

    Kuomintang had won 40.7 percent of the vote in what amounts to KMT’s worst poll performance. The party has lost five out of six large municipalities to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. Moreover, Kuomintang was defeated in two of its traditional strongholds, the country’s major cities of Taipei and Taichung.

    Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou is expected to announce a new line-up in the coming days. Ma is expected to make what KMT spokesperson Chen Yi-hsin described as a major announcement on Wednesday.

    Taiwan’s president also apologized for the party’s poor performance. "The KMT has suffered a huge defeat in the elections and I must apologize to all the Party members and supporters as well," Ma, who also serves as KMT chairman, said during a press conference, as quoted by Xinhua.

    Elections have been viewed as a key barometer ahead of the presidential poll, scheduled for 2016. KMT’s defeat reflects voters’ concerns over Taiwan strengthening ties with China since 2008, when Ma Ying-jeou came to power.

    Progress in bilateral relations will be stalled if DPP wins in the presidential election, asserted Hu Shiqing, a researcher at the Taiwan Studies Institute of the China Academy of Social Sciences, according to the Global Times. "While the current governing KMT recognizes the 'one China' stance and emphasizes the Chinese mainland's importance to Taiwan's economic development, the DPP has advocated closer economic ties with the US, Japan and Europe to balance the Chinese mainland's influence on Taiwan," the researcher said, as quoted by the newspaper.

    Li He, a deputy director of the Beijing-based National Society of Taiwan Studies, said that KMT’s defeat would have limited impact on Taiwan-China relations. The DPP has adopted a practical stance on mainland China, as the majority of Taiwan’s population does not want radical changes in bilateral relations, he asserted, according to the Global Times.


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