Crowds packed the streets around the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters in Taipei last night to celebrate its victory in the presidential election, giving Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and his party the mandate to lead Taiwan for the next four years.
DPP supporters cheered, shouted and waved flags as the vote tabulations were updated.
The ticket of Lai and former representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) led from the initial tallies in the afternoon right through the evening.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The festive atmosphere was also apparent in the crowd in front of Lai’s national campaign office near the Taipei MRT’s Shandao Temple Station, with people excitedly chatting and sending congratulatory messages as the results confirmed that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would hand over the nation’s leadership to a successor from her own party.
The final count in the presidential race had the Lai-Hsiao ticket at 5,586,019 votes, or 40.05 percent of the total, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) ticket of New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) and Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) at 4,671,021 (33.49 percent) and the Taiwan People’s Party’s (TPP) ticket of party chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Legislator Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) at 3,690,466 (26.46 percent).
However, the jubilant mood for the Lai-Hsiao victory was tempered by the DPP losing some key contests in the legislative elections, resulting in the DPP not getting a majority in the legislature, although it retained most of the seats in its traditionally strong constituencies, especially in southern Taiwan.
DPP representatives at the party’s main rally emphasized the slogans that Lai and Hsiao had campaigned on.
“It is a victory for democracy,” “Let’s proceed on the right path” and “Lai will drive on the road of democracy to lead our nation forward,” they said, referencing the “On the Road” campaign advert in which Tsai handed over car keys to Lai.
Lai’s victory is one of unity for Taiwanese, they said, adding that the win marked a historic achievement: the first time in Taiwanese democratic history that a political party has won a third straight presidential term.
Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba, AFP
The DPP is to remain in office after Tsai’s two consecutive terms beginning in 2016.
This would also be the first time that Taiwan has a former medical doctor as its leader, with Lai having a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University, as well as having practised medicine in Tainan, DPP officials said told the crowd.
A Taipei resident and DPP supporter surnamed Chuang (莊) in his 50s told reporters that Lai’s victory was a huge relief, as he had been anxious in the past few days upon seeing large crowds attending rallies for the KMT and the TPP.
“This is a win for Taiwanese,” Chuang said. “I am glad we still have democracy and freedom.”
“My family and I don’t want go back to the past authoritarian regime of the KMT,” he added. “The result is our message to the KMT and China that Taiwan is a sovereign country, and Taiwanese do not want to be ruled by communist China.”
At a DPP international news conference that started at 8:30pm last night, Lai said that his election had three important meanings:
First, Taiwan has told the world that in the choice between democracy and autocracy, Taiwanese have chosen democracy.
Second, Taiwanese have successfully defended their democratic system against external forces that have attempted to influence the elections, while sending a message to the world that they have the right to vote and to choose their own president.
Third, the DPP Lai-Hsiao ticket received the most support, with the most votes among the three political parties in the presidential race, he said.
Taiwanese have spoken, and they say that Taiwan is on the right road and will not go back to authoritarianism, he added.
Lai said that he will strive to maintain peace and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait, and would seek exchanges, interaction and dialogue with China, while he will uphold the Republic of China constitutional framework to work for the well-being of people on both sides of the Strait.
‘A DISASTER’: A successful Chinese attack on Taiwan would undermine the credibility of US security guarantees and could result in a global depression, three experts wrote A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would be a geopolitical catastrophe for the US and its allies, one that would overshadow almost all others over the next decade, US policy experts said. Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy in the US Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute; Gabriel Collins, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; and former US deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger issued the warning in an article published on Tuesday in Foreign Affairs. Bejing’s invasion or annexation of Taiwan “would be a disaster of utmost importance to the United States, and I am convinced that
Taiwanese businesspeople’s investments in China last year hit a record low of 11.4 percent of total foreign investment, the Mainland Affairs Council said yesterday. The number was a huge decline from 83.8 percent in 2010, mainly because Taiwanese businesspeople have been diversifying their investments globally over the past few years, with great success, the council said. From 1991 to last year, 45,523 Taiwanese investments in China totaling US$206.37 billion had been approved, accounting for 50.7 percent of overall foreign investment, data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission showed. The amount and proportion of Taiwanese investments in China has been declining, with
Taiwanese tourists on board a Kinmen cruise ship had a scare yesterday when it was intercepted by Chinese coast guards who forcefully boarded the vessel to inspect it. The Sunrise, a tourism ferry that operates between Kinmen and Xiamen, China, was sailing around the waters around the islets of Dadan (大膽) and Erdan (二膽) — both of which are part of Kinmen County — yesterday afternoon when it encountered personnel from China’s Fujian Coast Guard Bureau. China Coast Guard personnel forced their way on board and conducted an inspection for about 30 minutes before leaving, local media cited the tourists as saying. The
KINMEN: Coast guards on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should prohibit the entry of illegal vessels into ‘restricted’ waters to uphold maritime safety, Chen Chien-jen said Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday called for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to approach the security of Kinmen and Xiamen waters with rationality and equitability, following a boat chase that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week. Chen was responding to media inquiries ahead of a legislative session amid rising cross-strait tensions following the capsizing of a Chinese speedboat off the east coast of Kinmen on Wednesday last week during a pursuit by the Taiwanese coast guard. The Ministry of National Defense established the boundaries of “prohibited” and “restricted” waters around Kinmen in 1992 to better protect