As Taiwan’s 2020 election nears, Beijing is bracing for Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election. Beijing is still struggling with winning the hearts of Taiwan’s people, and its chances of pulling Taiwan closer seemingly again largely depend on a victory by the opposition Nationalist Party or KMT.
The most recent polls show the incumbent Tsai leading her main competitor, the KMT’s Han Kuo-yu, by 16 to 33 percentage points, depending on the polling institution. Tsai’s lead represents a remarkable rebound from her Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP’s) devastating defeat in the 2018 local elections, the same polls that saw Han emerge as the KMT’s poster boy and the president hopeful. According to Taiwan expert Bonnie Glaser, Tsai’s support has surged thanks to her adopting a firm stance against Beijing’s political pressure and utilizing the Hong Kong protests to warn against supporting pro-mainland policies and parties.