TAIPEI, Taiwan, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Polls showed Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou locked in a close race with Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Democratic People's Party.
While the outcome of Saturday's vote pits a Kuomintang leader who favors close ties with China against a pro-independence oppositionist, the polls also show most Taiwanese have concerns that are closer to home, The Guardian reported Friday. Incomes for most have been stagnant since a 2008 typhoon, and Ma is perceived as favoring the interests of big business over its employees.
Tsai would be the first female president of Taiwan if she wins.
The election is being closely followed in Beijing and Washington, the British newspaper said.
China claims the island as part of its territory while allowing it to act as an independent country. The United States does not recognize Taiwan but is pledged to protect it from a Chinese invasion.
"The political issues date back many decades, but it's not an issue these candidates can solve in a day. For people the only thing that matters is economic stability," Zhang Tianyao, a fortune teller unwilling to predict the outcome on Saturday, told The Guardian.
Nuclear power is a secondary issue, The New York Times said. Tsai has promised to retire the country's nuclear reactors. She argues the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan last year shows the reactors are unsafe.