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Despite voting, tensions may go on
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-12 23:15

Cross-Straits tensions may continue despite Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's pro-independence coalition's surprise defeat in Saturday's "legislative" elections.

Leading mainland researchers described the losses for Chen's coalition Sunday as a major setback rather than a decisive blow.

"The key issue here is whether Chen will stop his pro-independence push or forge ahead with his separatist timetable after the polls," said Wu Nengyuan, director of the Institute of Modern Taiwan Studies under the Fujian Academy of Social Sciences.

"If he takes more radical pro-independence steps to challenge the mainland, new tensions will be inflamed across the Straits."

The researcher made the comments after losses suffered by Chen's pro-independence pan-green camp consisting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

The pan-green camp, which had been widely favoured to wrest away an absolute majority in the 225-seat "Legislative Yuan," won only 101 seats, though Chen's DPP managed to remain the single largest with 89 seats.

The opposition pan-blue camp led by Kuomintang (KMT) netted a total of 114 seats, including those awarded to the People First Party and New Party. Another two seats were given to KMT members who had run as independents.

The new parliament will take office in February 2005.

The victory of the pan-blue camp, which opposes Chen's separatist policies, has enabled it to keep its narrow "legislative" majority. It holds 115 seats, or 51 per cent, in the current "legislature."

Wu said "Given his obstinate insistence on a pro-independence stance, Chen may step up his push for his separatist timetable."

Li Jiaquan, a senior researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Saturday's poll results fully demonstrate the Taiwanese people's growing dissatisfaction with Chen's radical pro-independence steps.

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