Taiwan voters reject same-sex marriage in referendums

Taiwan voters reject same-sex marriage in referendums

Taiwan voters reject same-sex marriage in referendums

The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) major defeat in local government elections on Saturday was a lesson the party has learned from democracy, and the party accepted the defeat humbly, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Saturday.

The Beijing-friendly opposition KMT party made gains in the face of growing pressure from China.

China has leapt on the outcome, saying voters rejected Ms Tsai's "separatist stance".

In the weeks leading up to the referendum, Taiwan's small Christian community was divided.

But surveys have consistently shown that Taiwanese people prefer not to have to choose between one or the other; instead they favour the middle ground.

The DPP leans towards independence and Beijing has upped military and diplomatic pressure since Tsai took office, unilaterally cutting all official relations.

DPP Secretary General Hung Yao-fu warned on Saturday that China had played a role in interfering with the elections, and stated they had "messed" with people's judgement.

And voters - more concerned about a struggling economy - didn't buy it.

In an opinion piece Monday, the Chinese government-run China Daily placed the blame for the DPP's defeat on Tsai's policy toward the mainland.

Second chance for the KMT?

Analysts said the United States would not be anxious about the outcome of the elections, as issues of reunification or independence had not played a major role.

"[The mainland] should neither interfere in our internal affairs, nor unilaterally interpret the expectations of Taiwanese, or they may risk misjudging the cross-strait situation", reads the council's statement. Thus, the defeat of DPP candidate Chen Chi-mai by KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu was considered a major upset.

That's not to say they completely trust or even like the KMT.

Tsai and the DPP repeatedly accused China of a "fake news" campaign ahead of the vote, which Beijing denied, and authorities are probing Chinese influence through campaign funding of candidates.

Rival China said the results reflected a desire of Taiwanese for better relations with the mainland.

Analysts said that Taiwan's sense of separateness from China was ingrained, but that voters wanted a cross-strait relationship that did not damage the island economically, a balance that successive governments have found hard to strike.

"It reflects Taiwan's hopes for peaceful relations across the strait, and it is going to have a positive and profound impact on cross-strait relations".

"Gay people are part of this society, we shouldn't be excluded from the state system".

Taiwanese officials had warned that Beijing was seeking to sway voters through the spread of disinformation online similar to how Russian Federation was accused of interfering in USA elections.

Beijing, in a move to boost the KMT and marginalize the DPP, has preferred to work with cities and counties that are under KMT control, such as offering more cultural and economic exchanges and programs.

Alawmaker from the president's Democratic Progressive Party told CNN any positive referendum result "must pass" in the next legislative session, but a legal expert said lawmakers would be left to decide how to respond to the results of the referendum.

Although the International Olympic Committee has already ruled out any changes and warned that Taiwan could even lose its accreditation, many see the vote as a test of support for independence and a means to fire up the DPP base.

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