Taiwan is holding the island’s biggest local election, which is widely seen as a referendum on the China policy of the ruling party.
Almost 20,000 candidates are running for more than 11,000 posts on nine levels of government.
Critics say the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party is too close to China, while its supporters say Taiwan needs good relations with its powerful neighbor.
China sees Taiwan as renegade province with which it should be re-united.
Taiwan and China have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
Taiwan only began allowing truly democratic elections – with opposition party candidates and universal suffrage – in the late 1980s.
The KMT currently holds the presidency, a legislative majority, and most of Taiwan’s cities and counties, although recent opinion polls have suggested that it risks losing its traditional strongholds such as Taipei and Taichung.
Some voters fear that if the KMT is allowed to continue building strong ties with China, Taiwan may become too economically dependent on the mainland and vulnerable to its pressures to reunify one day.
They distrust the KMT, regardless of whether the deals signed with Beijing are good for Taiwan, our correspondent says.
KMT supporters, on the other hand, feel that Taiwan needs good relations with its biggest trade partner to breath new life into the island’s ailing economy.
They fear a victory by the opposition DPP party could cause relations with China and Taiwan’s economy to regress.
The DPP supports Taiwan’s formal independence from China, something Beijing strongly opposes.
In 2016, Taiwan will hold the more important presidential and legislative polls.
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