As a presidential election set for January 2025 approaches, Taiwan’s two largest opposition parties, the Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party, have agreed to work together on a united campaign.
Polling suggests that the candidates for these parties – Hou Yu-ih for the KMT and Ko Wen-je for the TPP – are each individually far behind the candidate for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party William Lai, but together they held a significant lead over him.
Analysts suggest that sympathy for the DPP has been slipping after an extended incumbency by President Tsai Ing-wen. In some quarters it is now seen as ‘the establishment’, while constant sabre rattling by China (which sees Taiwan as part of its territory) has led to fatigue on the part of some Taiwanese.
A KMT-TPP government would likely reorient Taiwan’s relations with China. Under the DPP, Taiwan has been more assertive about its de facto independence. China has indicated that it would be prepared to use force to ‘reunify’ the territories. It has repeatedly used bellicose rhetoric and incursions by its military into Taiwanese airspace to emphasise this threat.