Taiwan’s Kuomintang swept to a landslide victory in Saturday’s local elections, results that observers said would aid the main opposition party in the presidential poll due in a little more than a year. President Tsai Ing-wen , who is also the head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, resigned with immediate effect as the DPP chief to take responsibility for the electoral setback. “We humbly accept the election results … and admit that we failed to move the voters and work hard to meet the expectations of the public,” Tsai said, who will continue to serve as Taiwan’s president. “On behalf of the DPP, I thank those who support and encourage us … and resign immediately as chair of the party,” she said as she led party officials to offer a bow to supporters. Results showed the KMT took four of the six key municipalities – Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan in the north and Taichung in central Taiwan. The KMT had set its sights on both Taipei and Taoyuan, saying wins there would be major victories. The DPP has retained control of only two municipalities: its traditional strongholds of Tainan and Kaohsiung. In Taiwan, is another member of the Chiang dynasty on the rise? The new mayor of the capital will be Wayne Chiang Wan-an , a descendant of Chiang Kai-shek, presenting a setback for Tsai in the final two years of her second term. Elsewhere in Taiwan, the KMT was also doing well, winning nine smaller cities and counties, giving it control of a total of 13 of the island’s 21 jurisdictions. The mayoral race in Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan was postponed due to the death of a candidate. In the smaller cities and counties, the independence-leaning DPP held on to three other seats. The small Taiwan People’s Party took Hsinchu – home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Two seats, including Miaoli, went to independent candidates. The results were regarded as a big defeat for the DPP, according to observers. Wang Kung-yi, head of the Taiwan International Strategic Study Society, a Taipei-based think tank, said the results indicated voters were punishing the Tsai administration. “Many voters are not satisfied with some of their policies,” Wang said. “Voters are especially displeased by the Tsai government’s poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, though Taiwan was initially applauded internationally for its management of the disease.” Voters believed that the failure to secure an adequate vaccine supply was a major reason for Covid deaths on the island, he said. Tsai said Premier Su Tseng-chang had also offered to resign as premier but was asked to stay on. Tsai resigned as the party chairwoman after the DPP lost in local elections in 2018, and returned to the post after being elected as president in 2020. Meanwhile, KMT chairman Eric Chu Li-luan led senior officials in thanking voters for their support. “Thanks to all the great Taiwanese … and those who support democracy, justice and reason,” Chu said. “This is not only a victory for the KMT but also a victory for the Taiwanese people, a victory for democracy, and a victory for the non-green camp in Taiwan.” What will Taiwan’s local elections mean for Tsai Ing-wen’s party and rival KMT? Chang Chun-hao, a political-science professor at Tunghai University in Taichung, said the KMT’s wins were expected to increase the party’s chances in the presidential poll in January 2024. “The DPP’s defeat is also expected to create an impact on the party in the presidential poll,” he said. Throughout the campaign, Tsai repeatedly said a DPP victory would help save Taiwan’s hard-fought democracy from being destroyed by Beijing. In a campaign video message on Thursday, Tsai called the weekend vote a referendum on her leadership, saying a vote for DPP candidates was a vote for her and her commitment to “take good care” of Taiwan. Wang, from the Taiwan International Strategic Study Society, said the voters were not convinced by the so-called China threat card played by Tsai and her party. “The election campaign turned into a patriotism race in the latter stages after Tsai defined the polls as a way of standing up to Beijing and safeguarding Taiwan,” he said.