Taiwan: DPP Candidate Lai Ching-Te Wins Presidential Polls
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te has won the much-anticipated Taiwanese presidential polls and is set to be the next President amid concerns of escalating tensions with China, Taiwan News reported.
This marks the historic third-straight victory for the DPP after Tsai Ing-wena completed her two terms as Taiwan President since 2016.
According to the Central Election Commission report, Lai received over 5 million votes and more than 40 per cent of the vote share after counting was done from over 90 per cent of polling stations as of 7:45 pm (local time).
Previously undecided voters split three ways among the candidates, giving Lai a seven-point lead over Kuomintang candidate Hou Yu-ih, who received 33 per cent of the total votes. In third place, the Taiwan People’s Party candidate Ko Wen-je took 26 per cent of the national vote, performing marginally better than expected, according to Taiwan News.
Lai, who previously served as Tainan’s mayor has pledged to continue bolstering national defense, the economy, and cooperation with democratic allies. He also said he would maintain deterrence and uphold the cross-strait status quo, during an election speech.
Lai said he would form a new government staffed by individuals based on their ‘capabilities’ rather than ‘party affiliation’, adding that this way, “it could effectively respond to challenges, be open and inclusive, and unite Taiwanese to face both domestic and international challenges”.
He also vowed to continue initiatives focusing on value-based diplomacy, cross-strait stability, defense self-sufficiency, economic upgrading, energy transition, youth investment, housing justice, and educational equality.
This will shape Taiwan to be “a stable and indispensable force in the international community,” he said.
Lai’s victory will surely cause protest from Beijing, which would have preferred the China-friendly KMT and Hou Yu-ih in power. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Thursday labelled Lai as an “obstinate Taiwan independence worker” that would bring “cross-strait confrontation and conflict”, according to Taiwan News.
China has increased military activities around Taiwan in recent years, including near-daily incursions into the country’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and sending military ships near its maritime borders. With Lai as president, the Taiwanese have made clear they will not back down from Chinese intimidation.
Earlier in the day, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen urged people to cast their ballots as she cast her own on Saturday morning in New Taipei City, Channel News Asia reported.
The leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cast her ballot at the Xiulang Elementary School voting place in New Taipei. Hsiao Bi-khim, the vice presidential candidate, and several party officials were present.
The turnout was described as positive, reaching 70 per cent in cities including Taipei, Tainan, and Taoyuan as mild temperatures and sunny weather dominated during voting between 8am-4pm (local time).
Minor incidents were reported from several polling stations, mostly involving voters ripping up their ballot papers, taking pictures with cellphones, or flashing signs thought to be referring to candidates, according to Taiwan News.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese also voted for all 113 seats at the Legislative Yuan. The legislature is divided into 73 single-seat constituencies, 34 at-large seats decided by votes for lists of candidates per political party with a 5 per cent threshold, and six seats for indigenous representatives.
Results for legislative seats were predicted to become apparent later than the outcome of the main presidential race.
An upsurge in rail and road traffic was evidently seen as Taiwanese returned home to cast their ballots for its presidential and legislative elections, reported Taiwan News.
The world is keenly watching Taiwan as its citizens prepare to vote for a new President and Parliament amidst escalating tensions with China.
Beijing’s increasing threats towards Taipei over the past eight years have raised concerns, and the world awaits not only the election results but also the response from Taiwan’s ‘authoritarian neighbour,’ as reported by CNN. (ANI)
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