Opposition party KMT's Taipei mayor candidate Ting Shou-chung speaks at a news conference in Taipei, Taiwan, 25 November 2018. EFE-EPA FILE/DAVID CHANG

Taiwan opposition parties agree to join hands for 2024 presidential elections

Beijing, Nov 15 (EFE).- Taiwan’s two main opposition parties agreed on Wednesday to join forces for the upcoming presidential elections in January.

Taiwan Vice President William Lai addresses a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 April 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Taiwan Vice President William Lai addresses a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 April 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

The agreement between Kuomintang (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) was reached after a two-hour meeting between their leaders.

KMT presidential nominee Hou Yu-ih, TPP chairman and presidential nominee Ko Wen-je, KMT Chairman Eric Chu, and former President Ma Ying-jeou attended the meeting, state news agency CNA reported.

Opinion polls place current Vice-President William Lai, the candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, as the frontrunner in the elections, scheduled to be held on Jan. 13.

Under the agreement, each party will appoint a statistician to examine and evaluate polls published by various media as well as internal surveys conducted within the parties to determine the presidential candidate.

No details have been offered as to how the evaluations will be carried out.

If there is a difference greater than the margin of error between the two candidates, the one with the most support will be the presidential candidate and the other will run as the vice-presidential candidate.

In the event that the difference is within the margin of error, Hou will be the presidential candidate and Ko will be the vice-presidential candidate.

The result will be announced on Saturday, after which the two parties will establish a campaign committee.

Both parties also pledged to establish a coalition government if elected.

The result of these elections will mark the course of Taiwan’s policy towards China amid growing tensions between Taipei and Beijing.

The mandate of the current president, Tsai Ing-wen, who will not be able to run for a third term, has been marked by the intensification of tensions with China, especially since last summer due to the visit of then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which sparked strong protests by the Chinese government.

Taiwan, where the Chinese nationalist army retreated after defeat by communist troops in the civil war, has been governed autonomously since 1949, although China claims sovereignty over the island.

China considers it a rebel province, and it has not ruled out “reunification” by force