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Taiwan elections

Taiwan's KMT has a mountain to climb for 2024 presidential race

Local poll wins don't necessarily indicate changed public attitude toward China

Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu and President Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party until its drubbing in local elections on Nov. 26. (Source photos by Kyodo and Getty Images)

TAIPEI -- Taiwanese voters have given President Tsai Ing-wen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a drubbing in local elections, but analysts say victory for the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) will not necessarily translate into similar gains in the presidential election due in early 2024.

Saturday's polls were the worst local election performance for the ruling party, with the DPP losing mayoralties across northern Taiwan and handing the pro-China KMT a much-needed morale boost after being battered in national elections and referendums in recent years. Out of 21 mayoral and county chief seats, the ruling party won five, down from seven in the 2018 elections. Major cities including Keelung, Hsinchu and Taoyuan flipped to the opposition, and Tsai resigned as party leader following the devastating results.

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