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Taiwan's Premier Quits After Ruling Party's Ballot Box Rebuff

Taiwan Premier Jiang Yi-huah bows during a news conference in Taipei after the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party was defeated in the local elections on Saturday. MIinshen Lin/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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MIinshen Lin/Reuters/Landov

Taiwan Premier Jiang Yi-huah bows during a news conference in Taipei after the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party was defeated in the local elections on Saturday.

MIinshen Lin/Reuters/Landov

Taiwan's Prime Minister Jiang Yi-huah has resigned his post after the ruling Kuomintang party (KMT) experienced a crushing defeat at the polls in local elections.

Saturday's polls, widely seen as a referendum on President Ma Ying-jeou ahead of presidential elections two years from now, resulted in the KMT losing key districts across the island. The KMT has dominated Taiwanese politics since nationalist Chinese forces retreated there in the face of Communist advances on the mainland in the late 1940s.

This weekend marked the first election since "thousands of young people occupied parliament in March in an unprecedented demonstration against a planned trade pact calling for closer ties with Beijing," according to Reuters.

The news agency reports: "The worse-than-expected showing underlined the growing unpopularity of the government of [Ma], which has been trying to forge closer ties with China."

But the BBC notes that the election was about more than just Taiwan-China relations: "The defeat suffered by the KMT reflects voter dissatisfaction over the government's handling of food safety scandals, low wages and the widening wealth gap. It also reflects worries over its pro-China policy. Although trade deals with China have brought benefits to Taiwan, there is a sense that they have helped mostly companies, not ordinary people."