DPP now a strong contender to helm Taiwan in 2016 presidential election

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) looks to be a strong contender in the 2016 presidential poll after winning a landslide in yesterday's local elections, but sway votes will remain a decisive factor, observers said.

The DPP won more than 47 per cent of all votes cast in the local administrator elections against the ruling Kuomintang's less than 41 per cent. But the DPP still failed to grab a majority of votes.

Almost 12 per cent of the votes went to independent candidates, which means sway votes and third-party supporters will play a decisive role in the 2016 presidential election.

This is particularly true as a large portion of support for the DPP in the local elections is believed to have come from sway votes, the observers said.

This can be demonstrated by the outcome of the mayoral race in Taipei, where the DPP has never won majority support.

Independent candidate Ko Wen-je managed to take 57.16 per cent of votes in Taipei.

Ko has strong ties with the DPP, but his promise to transcend party lines apparently helped win him support from beyond the main opposition camp, the observers said.