Taiwan election: Tsai Ing-wen wins 2nd term with 8.17 mn votes

Taipei [Taiwan], Jan 12 : Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has secured a second term after sweeping to victory with more than 8 million votes in an election dominated by the island's relationship with China.

Tsai secured just over 57 per cent of the ballot well ahead of her rival Han Kuo-yu, who won only 38.5 per cent of the vote, Washington Post reported after quoting the Central Election Commission of the country.

Indeed, the election results are a stinging rebuke to the Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, who has refused to rule out trying to take control of Taiwan by force.

Voters, in the presidential elections, rejected the mainland's proposal of living under a Hong Kong-style "one country, two systems" arrangement, returning both the presidency and the legislature to the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party.

"The results of this election carry an added significance. They have shown that when our sovereignty is threatened, the Taiwanese people will shout our determination even more loudly back," Tsai told reporters after witnessing a landslide win.

"Not only is Taiwan a proxy for much of the world's strategy to deal with the consequences of an increasingly authoritarian China, but also Taiwan has been on the front lines of the Chinese Communist Party's aggression for decades. And while it is trying to safeguard its democratic institutions, it's also trying to manage its economic relations with China," she added.

Throughout the campaign, Tsai had upheld the events in Hong Kong as a harbinger of what would happen to Taiwan if it were to agree to such an arrangement, mobilising the electorate with the warning "Hong Kong today, Taiwan tomorrow."

Meanwhile, voter turnout was as high as almost 74 per cent in Saturday's elections.

Since Tsai's election in 2016, Beijing has systematically sought to isolate and constrain Taiwan by peeling off its diplomatic partners -- only 15 small countries now recognise Taiwan -- and having it shut out of international institutions like the World Health Organisation and climate talks.

Taiwanese citizens on vacation in New York cannot even go on tours of the United Nations headquarters because the international body does not recognise their passports.

Beijing has also sought to hurt Taiwan economically, most recently banning Chinese tourists from travelling to the island independently, and has punished companies that have suggested Taiwan might be an independent country.

In her remarks Saturday night, Tsai repeatedly emphasized her "commitment to peaceful, stable cross-strait relations" based on parity between the two sides and dialogue.


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Taiwan election: Tsai Ing-wen wins 2nd term with 8.17 mn votes