Opinion: A lack of opposition unity not a good result for Taiwan as a whole

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The saying that separation is death is a truism of a multi-party political system. For the common good, broadly like-minded people must focus on what unites them and resist division over differences if they are to gain majority support in popular elections.

In Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election, a united, coordinated, Beijing-friendly opposition could really test the electoral support of the ruling, pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

To that end, the Kuomintang, the largest opposition party, and the Taiwan People’s Party have been talking since October about forming a joint ticket for the January election and throwing their support behind a single candidate.

This would have been a good opportunity to give the voters a clear choice and defeat the DPP candidate against Vice President William Lai Ching-te.

But the last round of talks between the two main friendly parties on Thursday failed to resolve the dispute on how to choose the candidate to lead the ticket.

Taiwan People’s Party presidential candidate Ko Wenjie registered his candidacy for the presidency just hours before the deadline. Photo: Kyodo

Agreement to base the selection on opinion based on a debate about how to conduct the exercise.

Hopes that the reality of the election will strengthen partisan politics have led TPP Ko Wenje to file his presidential bid hours before Friday’s deadline, choosing TPP lawmaker Wu Hsin-ying as his preferred running mate and excluding the Kuomintang.

KMT candidate Hu Yu-ieh is on the ticket, with party member and former lawmaker Zhao Shao-kong as chairman of the China Broadcasting Corporation.

The failure of negotiations to form an effective coalition has given the DPD and Lai a crucial advantage in the upcoming elections.

It is decided by a simple – not absolute – majority, so it is unlikely that the two opposing candidates will get more votes than the top – they will lose.

The prospect of another four-year term in office for the pro-independence DPP will do little to ease dangerous tensions on Taiwan’s shores, especially since Beijing views Lai and its nominee, Hsu Bi-Kim, as a separatist.

Taiwan opposition drops bid for joint ticket, DPP win, worries for Beijing

Indeed, they are more pro-independence than outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen. If they win, this may even increase the danger in the Taiwan Strait.

Lack of unity is still the opposition’s biggest problem. This is not good for Taiwan in general. Beijing must find a formula that will allow it to settle peacefully.

Taiwan cannot be conquered by armed conflict. Moreover, the increase in risk is driving away many investors and talents.

If the DPP gets another four years, it will do nothing for the confidence of these people and will increase the urgency of the solution.

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