Taiwan's governing party has taken the drastic step of replacing its candidate for January's presidential election, reflecting growing unease about its candidate's plans for closer relations with the mainland.
At an emergency meeting on Saturday, delegates from the Kuomintang or Nationalist party voted to replace Hung Hsiu-chu, the straight-talking legislator who polls showed was trailing Democratic Progressive party candidate Tsai Ing-wen.
The all-female election would have been a first for Taiwan and guaranteed the election of its first female president. But analysts say Ms Hung's views on cross-strait relations, including advocating a peace treaty with China, made voters uneasy.
"Her views on Taiwan's future relations with China were out of step with mainstream opinion in Taiwan. They went beyond what most Taiwanese — KMT voters included — are willing to countenance," said J Michael Cole of Thinking Taiwan, a think-tank backed by Ms Tsai's foundation.
"Taiwanese were generally OK with liberalisation of cross-strait ties, but they have drawn clear lines and Ms Hung was threatening to cross those."