Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, last night thanked supporters for their efforts as he conceded defeat in the election.
“All I can say is that the hard work I put in was not enough, and I have let you all down,” Han told a rally outside the KMT’s Kaohsiung chapter in the city’s Sanmin District (三民).
He thanked supporters for their love and efforts, saying that it had been an honor to have former premier Simon Chang (張善政) as his running mate.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
“The people of the Republic of China have made their choice and I absolutely respect the election result,” Han said.
Earlier in the evening, he congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on her re-election, he said.
Hopefully, Tsai will create a better life for the people and the nation will again show its solidarity, he added.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
“Starting on Monday, I will return to work at the Kaohsiung City Government,” Han said, adding that there is much to be done before the Lunar New Year holiday.
Following Han’s speech, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) announced at KMT headquarters in Taipei that he and vice chairmen Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), as well as all executive-level members involved in the election, would tender their resignations to the KMT Central Standing Committee to take responsibility for the party’s defeat in the presidential and legislative elections.
The committee is to make a decision about their resignations at its meeting on Wednesday, Wu said.
“The KMT did not do well in the elections and must calmly review its performance,” Wu said.
Outside the KMT’s Kaohsiung chapter, the party had set up a large screen on Jianguo Road for about 1,000 supporters who had gathered to watch the vote count.
The supporters initially appeared hopeful, with many chanting dong suan (凍蒜), a Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) expression meaning “get elected,” despite Han failing to hold a small early lead over Tsai.
However, as the gap between Han and Tsai widened, many fell silent and became visibly anxious.
By 6:30pm, about two-and-a-half hours after the ballot counting began, Han trailed Tsai by more than 1.2 million votes and several supporters broke into tears.
The loss marks the fourth time the KMT is to be an opposition party since the DPP won its first presidential election in 2000.
Before the DPP’s Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) won the 2000 presidential election, the KMT had ruled the nation for nearly six decades.
The loss was another blow to the KMT, which was desperate to return to power following a disastrous electoral defeat in 2016, when Tsai won the presidential election by the second-largest margin in the nation’s history and the DPP secured an absolute majority in the Legislative Yuan.
Additional reporting by Fang Chih-hsien
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