Taiwan’s president surges ahead in pre-election poll

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – Taiwan’s incumbent president is leading over her rivals ahead of elections in January, according to an opinion poll released Monday.

The poll, conducted by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF), shows that Tsai Ing-wen and her running mate, former premier William Lai, have widened their lead over opposition candidate Han Kuo-yu and former premier Simon Chang by 30.6 percentage points from 29 points in November, Taiwan News reported.

On Jan. 11, Taiwanese voters will elect a president, vice president and 113 members of the state legislature.

Tsai, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is running for re-election against Kuo-yu of the main opposition Nationalist Party (KMT) and James Soong, leader of the People First Party, a splinter party of the KMT.

The TPOF poll predicted that the DPP would secure a commanding lead in the elections.

Some 33.6% of respondents chose the DPP whereas 26% indicated they would vote for the KMT. The Taiwan People's Party (TPP) led by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je came in third with 7.2% support followed by the New Power Party (NPP) with 4.5%.

In the 2016 elections, the DPP picked up 68 seats and defeated the then ruling KMT, which had secured 35 seats of the 113-seat state legislature. Tsai Ing-wen became the territory's first female leader.

It was the first time the pro-China KMT, which had controlled the government for eight years, lost control of the island's legislature.

The DPP has traditionally taken a pro-independence stance and has not historically recognized the "one China" policy.