President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) triumphed in the presidential election yesterday, crushing the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) hopes for a return to power by taking 57.1 percent of the vote.
Tsai secured a second term in office in a landslide victory against the rival tickets of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the KMT’s presidential candidate, and his vice presidential candidate, former premier Simon Chang (張善政); and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and his vice presidential candidate, former United Communications Group chairwoman Sandra Yu (余湘).
Voting took place between 8am and 4pm at 17,226 polling stations nationwide.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The ticket of Tsai and her running mate, former premier William Lai (賴清德), won 8,170,231 votes, or 57.13 percent of the 19,311,105 registered voters, with the Han-Chang ticket garnering 5,522,119 votes (38.61 percent) and the Soong-Yu ticket receiving 608,590 votes (4.26 percent).
The total number of votes that Tsai received increased by 1,275,442 from 6,894,744 in 2016, when she received 56.1 percent of the total vote. It also surpassed the record of 7,659,014 votes that then-KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) received in the 2008 presidential election.
The votes for the KMT’s ticket yesterday increased by 1,708,754 from 3,813,365 in 2016, when it received 31.0 percent of the total vote.
Photo: Tyrone Siu, Reuters
In 2016, Soong garnered 1,576,861 votes, or 12.8 percent of the total vote.
In her victory speech, Tsai pledged “to do more and to do better” in her second term, adding: “We will not forget to engage in introspection just because of the [electoral] victory.”
Expressing gratitude to people who voted, she said that regardless of whom they voted for, “it is an implementation of democratic values.”
With every presidential election, Taiwanese tell the world that “we cherish the democratic way of life and cherish our country, the Republic of China (Taiwan),” she said.
She said she would listen to constructive criticism that Han and Soong have to offer.
Tsai said that her administration would continue to push for reforms, make progress with national construction projects, and close the income gap between rich and poor people.
She added that she would continue to keep the nation safe and protect its sovereignty.
“I also hope that Beijing understands that democratic Taiwan, and our democratically elected government, will not give in to threats and intimidation,” Tsai said.
Han conceded defeat last night, saying that Tsai had won a second term.
Han said that he had not tried hard enough and let his supporters down.
He asked people to remain calm, adding: “I have called President Tsai to congratulate her. She has a new mandate for the next four years.”
Han told supporters in Kaohsiung that he expects to see a united Taiwan, and that Tsai would lead the nation to a happier life.
Han, who took time off from his mayoral duties to campaign for the presidency, is to return to his Kaohsiung post tomorrow.
Soong also conceded defeat.
Expressing gratitude for the people who supported him, Soong said that he respected the decision of the nation, as the process is a reflection of Taiwan’s democratic values.
Soong said it was important that the government form a professional administration, and not resort to cronyism and nepotism, which would mar the civil service and negatively affect the public through reckless reforms.
Additional reporting by AFP and CNA
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