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Taiwan opposition to team up for parliamentary elections

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s two main opposition parties said on Monday (Oct 30) they will team up for parliamentary elections in January in a bid to win more seats but said more discussions are needed on a joint ticket for a presidential vote.

Vice-President William Lai, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has led in most opinion polls, leaving the candidates of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), Hou Yu-ih, and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), Ko Wen-je, to battle it out for second place.

The issue of China, which views self-ruled Taiwan as its territory, looms over the Jan 13 parliamentary and presidential elections. It has stepped up military and political pressure to press the island to accept its sovereignty claim, which Taiwan rejects.

China cut off routine talks with Taiwan after President Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP took office in 2016. The two opposition parties have vowed to pursue dialogue with China on an equal and dignified basis and “restore peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

The KMT and TPP, which have been discussing the possibility of teaming up, said after a meeting between their leaders on Monday they would “support each other and maximise seats” in parliament to “deepen democracy”.

But in response to questions from reporters about a joint presidential election ticket, the leaders said more discussions were needed to work out a plan on that.

“There were some disputes remaining to be settled,” said Ko, a former mayor of the island’s capital, Taipei, adding that he wanted a “fair and mutually acceptable” pact with the KMT.

The KMT has 38 of 113 seats in parliament to the TPP’s five.

The KMT controls 14 of Taiwan’s 22 city mayor and county chief positions, to the TPP’s two.

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