Taiwan's main opposition scored a comfortable by-election win over the ruling nationalists at the weekend, in what it said Sunday was a clear signal that voters were fed up with the government.
The pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) picked up 58.8 percent of the vote in the Yunlin county election in the south of the island -- its first win since losing legislative and presidential elections last year.
"People have used the vote to show their lack of confidence in (President) Ma Ying-jeou's administration," party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said. "I see new hope for the DPP."
The DPP's candidate was standing against a former Kuomintang politician running as an independent and the official challenger from the ruling party, who garnered 18.0 percent and 23.2 percent respectively.
Turnout among the roughly 125,000 eligible voters was less than 50 percent.
The by-election was called after a court in June stripped the incumbent Kuomintang legislator of his position over a vote-buying scandal.
It came just over two months ahead of local government elections on December 5 seen as a mid-term test for Beijing-friendly president Ma.
Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung blamed the defeat on the independent candidate splitting the party vote while Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, also from the Kuomintang, said "people used their ballots to display their resentment."
"This is a warning to us."
Ma's government fielded heavy criticism for its handling of a deadly typhoon last month that killed more than 600 people, sending his approval rating crashing to 16 percent, the lowest level since he was elected last year.