Shanghai, China, Nov 26 (EFE).- Taiwan, with more than 19 million eligible voters, holds its local elections Saturday amid regional tensions with increasing belligerence from China, state-owned CNA agency reported.
The polling boots opened at 8am local time and are scheduled to close at 4pm.
Apart from deciding on local representatives such as city mayors, county chiefs and local councillors, the voters will also take part in a referendrum to lower the the voting age from 20 to 18.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, after casting her vote, stressed that participation in local elections was “key” to strengthening democracy on the island.
However, those infected with the coronavirus – estimated at around 65,000 people – will not be permitted to vote, and non-compliance to the mandatory quarantine could result in fines of up to 2 million Taiwanese dollars ($64,600) or even a prison term.
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper stressed that Beijing, which has claimed sovereignty over the self-governing island since 1949, will follow the elections closely, with particular attention to the referendum on lowering the voting age.
Last month, a Chinese government spokesman claimed that this referendum was a means of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to try to change the constitution and pave the way for its separatist goals.
Tensions between Taipei and Beijing, constant since Tsai came to power in 2016, have intensified in recent months in the wake of the visit of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
China responded with strong protests and military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait. EFE