Ruling Party's Lai Ching-te Wins Taiwan Presidential Election: NPR

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-tae, accompanied by William, cast his vote in the election in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on Saturday.

By Han Quan/AP


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By Han Quan/AP

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-tae, accompanied by William, cast his vote in the election in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on Saturday.

By Han Quan/AP

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Lai Tsing-te of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been elected Taiwan's new president, after a three-way election that will determine the self-ruled island's future stance toward China.

Since being founded in the 1980s as a coalition of underground dissident groups, the DPP has now won the presidency for a third term, a first in Taiwan's short democratic history.

This year's election comes after more than a month of intense campaigning by all three parties, each hoping to better protect Taiwan from China while boosting the island's economy.

Lai's election “presents tensions with China”

Analysts say the DPP presidential victory foreshadows tensions with China, which has vowed to one day control Taiwan and has not ruled out a military invasion to do so. Beijing has repeatedly accused Lai of being a “separatist” and last April Allowed His vice-presidential running mate is B-Kim Hsiao.

In his victory speech, Lai said Taiwan was willing to talk to China “on the basis of dignity and equality” but added that his administration would be “resolute” to protect Taiwan from China's threats and intimidation.

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“[Beijing] Instead of using a military approach, more economic coercion, diplomatic coercion, more information warfare and more will be used in trade,” said Fang-Yu Chen, a political scientist at Suzhou University in Taipei. Be prepared.”

Saturday's polling ended at 4pm on Saturday, with the KMT agreeing to hold the presidential election before 8pm.

“I'm sorry for disappointing my supporters, I want to apologize,” KMT's Hou told media. Go Wen-jae of the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) also conceded defeat.

In Saturday's presidential vote, the KMT won more than 3.9 million votes and the TPP more than 3.1 million. The DPP won more than 5 million votes.

For security reasons, Taiwan does not allow absentee voting, requiring all voters to vote in person only on paper. Physical votes are counted by hand at each polling station, which is fully open to the public.

Supporters of Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-deo, who goes by William, attend a rally in Tainan, southern Taiwan, on Friday.

By Han Quan/AP


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By Han Quan/AP

Supporters of Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-deo, who goes by William, attend a rally in Tainan, southern Taiwan, on Friday.

By Han Quan/AP

Taiwan's election is not just about its relations with China

Analysts say the TPP's rise in Taiwan's traditionally two-party political system reflects voter fatigue with the corruption and ideological rigidity of both the island's most established parties, the DPP and KMT.

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Young voters have particularly flocked to the TPP, which has promised to address rising housing prices and more spending on health care and rent subsidies.

“The housing prices are crazy, and the economy is going down,” said Kevin Ko, 29, a project manager at a technology company in Taipei. “Our generation is 25-30 years old, the younger generation, we [voting] So much for elections, but is Taiwan really doing well?”

In his victory speech, Lai admitted that his party did not have a majority in parliament. “The polls tell us that the people expect efficient government and strong checks and balances,” said Lai, who said he would work with the opposition to resolve the issues facing Taiwan.

Ailsa Chang, Patrick Jarenwattanan, Jonaki Mehta, Hugo Peng and Mallory Yu reported from Taipei.

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