Taiwan voters reject same-sex marriage referendum

Lin Chinxuan, 29 holds Austin Haung's 32 face to demonstrate for their clients during a pre-wedding

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen, who ran on a platfom in support of gay marriage but who has always been accused of dragging her feet, has given up her post as leader of Taiwan's governing party. The country now competes as "Chinese Taipei" at such events.

Supporters of the opposition nationalist KMT celebrate in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on Saturday.

Ahead of the vote, Tsai and DPP officials repeatedly said they believed China has meddled in the lead-up to the elections through a "fake news" campaign, which Beijing has denied.

Asked to comment on whether the results will change Beijing's Taiwan policy, Chang Wu-ueh (張五岳), a professor of China Studies at New Taipei-based Tamkang University, predicted that there will be no major changes for the time being.

He said China will continue to uphold the 1992 Consensus - that there is only one China, open to different interpretations - and Beijing would "resolutely oppose separatist elements advocating "Taiwan independence" and their activities".

In Saturday's elections in Taiwan's 22 cities and counties, including six special municipalities, Tsai's party suffered a huge defeat, losing seven of the 13 cities and counties it previously held.

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The independent mayor of Taipei, Ko Wen-je, was in a tight race to retain his position but overcame Ting Shou-chung of Kuomintang and Pasuya Yao of the DPP.

The opposition Kuomintang (KMT), meanwhile, won 15 mayoral and magistrate posts, regaining its footing after being badly defeated in the 2014 local elections, when it was left with only six.

Votes in 10 referendums which were also on the ballot paper were still being counted late Saturday and include pro- and anti-gay marriage proposals.

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have heightened with China conducting military drills around the island and snatching away Taiwan's dwindling number of diplomatic allies.

The spokesman said Taiwan's democratic institutions continued to serve as a role model for the entire region, and the U.S. looked forward to finding new ways to highlight Taiwan's positive example.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) tendered his resignation due to public complaints that results were posted too early potentially unfairly influencing the decision of many voters.

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About 19 million Taiwanese are eligible to vote. Government employees who feel slighted by pension cuts that took effect in July probably mobilized against Tsai's party, Jung said.

"We hope the two sides will soon go back to a peaceful and stable trend in relations", he said.

Taiwanese media said the political landscape had been dramatically reshaped.

The majority of voters approved a measure Saturday stating "Civil Code regulations should restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman" and two other measures opposing same-sex marriage while rejecting measures to legalize same sex marriage and asking if civil code marriage regulations "should be used to guarantee the rights of same-sex couples to get married".

Not enough votes were cast to make the results valid, and in any case more people voted against a name change than for one.

China has already responded. Final results are expected at 2 am on November 25.

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