Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party following local election losses on Saturday in which voters chose the Opposition Nationalist party in several major races across the self-ruled island.
Concerns about threats from rival China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, took a backseat to more local issues in the elections.
Tsai had spoken out many times about “opposing China and defending Taiwan” in the course of campaigning for her party.
But the party’s candidate Chen Shih-chung, who lost his battle for mayor of Taipei, only raised the issue of the Chinese Communist Party’s threat a few times before he quickly switched back to local issues as there was little interest.
Tsai offered her resignation on Saturday evening, a tradition after a major loss, in a short speech in which she also thanked supporters.
“I must shoulder all the responsibility,” she said.
“Faced with a result like this, there are many areas that we must deeply review.”
While international observers and the ruling party have attempted to link the elections to the long-term existential threat that is Taiwan’s neighbour, many local experts do not think China had a large role to play this time around.
Dozens missing in Italy landslide
Heavy rainfall triggered landslides early on Saturday on the southern Italian island of Ischia that left as many as 12 people missing as it cut a muddy swath through a port town, collapsing buildings and sweeping cars into the sea.
Italy’s interior minister said no deaths were confirmed, appearing to contradict an early announcement by another senior official.
“At the moment there are no confirmed deaths,” said Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, speaking from the firefighters’ emergency coordination centre.
Italian Vice Premier Matteo Salvini, who is also the infrastructure minister, had said earlier that eight deaths had been confirmed, speaking to reporters at the opening of a subway extension in Milan.