They live here but they’re not from here — How foreigners view Taiwan elections?

Tsai Ing-wen supporters wave flags at a rally in New Taipei City on Jan. 5, 2020. (CNA)
Tsai Ing-wen supporters wave flags at a rally in New Taipei City on Jan. 5, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The China Post spoke with a number of foreigners who’ve spent some time in Taiwan and asked their take on this year’s elections closely watched home and abroad.

Conor, 36, from North Ireland, who spoke on the condition that he be identified only by his first name due to the nature of his job, told The China Post that if he could vote, he would vote for Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Referring to the rather unpopular pension and labor reforms, Conor said that he thinks Tsai took “the pragmatic decisions that needed to be taken for a sustainable future”.

Tsai’s economic vision and support for same-sex marriage are also reasons why Conor favors her.

For Conor, Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) uses metaphors that he finds “bizarre” and “don’t make sense.” Han “tells blatant lies and doesn’t take any responsibility for previous promises made,” Conor said.

In terms of the legislative election, Conor called it “ridiculous” that KMT removed hard-working legislators like Jason Hsu, and replaced them with more Beijing-friendly candidates.

Eric, who also spoke on the condition that he be identified only by his first name, is Argentinian; he has lived in Taiwan for 12 years and noticed “a lot more presence of smaller parties both on the streets and social media”.

He said he’s uncertain what that means for the election, but it reflects perhaps “that more people are trying to step out of the big-tent politics and cater to more sectoral crowds.”

Federico Rampazzo, 45, a volleyball coach who has been in Taiwan since 2013, viewed the self-governed island is “a safe place for family”.

Referring to Han, he said that it surprised him that all the media “are supporting the bold guy.” Based on his observations, Han is “not oriented to solve problems but to propaganda.”

Rampazzo added that he would vote for incumbent Tsai because he thinks she has done a good job so far and that its “making internationally recognized”. Should Han be elected, he considers leaving Taiwan, he said.

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