Taiwanese go to the polls in crucial legislative elections

Taiwanese voters went to the polls Saturday to elect a new 113-seat Legislature, a contest widely seen as a referendum on President Chen Shui-bian and his often divisive handling of Taiwan's tense relations with rival China. Voter turnout was expected to be high, with a key presidential election coming in two months and increasing voter dissatisfaction over the state of a once-vibrant economy that has been overshadowed by China's boom. Chen, who must step down after eight years as president, has been criticized for aggravating relations with Beijing by promoting policies to formalize Taiwan's de facto independence from China. Critics say that has allowed the economy to lose competitiveness and ratcheted up tension in the perennially edgy Taiwan Strait.