posted at 20:50
Author Name: Amber Wang
Taiwan votes in key elections ahead of presidential polls
Leadership elections are due in early 2016 with China policy a key issue as embattled President Ma Ying-jeou - who came to power in 2008 on a Beijing-friendly platform - must step down at the end of his second four-year term. The KMT faces humiliation in key strongholds, including Taipei and the central municipality of Taichung. Ma ended the DPP's eight-year rule in 2008 when he was elected on a pledge to boost the economy and trade with China. The public has grown increasingly anxious over China's influence on the island. The DPP has traditionally been sceptical over closer ties with Beijing and has criticised the KMT for lack of transparency over trade deals with China as well as incompetence in handling domestic issues. "I support the DPP because I think the Ma government is leaning too close to China and opening up trade too much... many factories have moved to China and many Taiwanese young people can't find jobs," a retired businessman surnamed Hsiao told AFP at a polling station in Taipei. Ma urged supporters in the capital to vote for KMT candidate Sean Lien in the Taipei mayoral race - Lien has been lagging behind independent candidate Ko Wen-je in opinion polls. "It's an extremely important choice for Taipei and Taiwan," Ma said at a rally late Friday.

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