Taiwan’s outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen won the island’s presidential election, according to partial results released on Saturday, January 11. She announced her victory, while her main opponent, Han Kuo-yu, recognized her defeat.
It received 57.1% of the vote, according to the final results. Nineteen million voters were called upon to decide between two divergent visions of the future of the island and its relations with Beijing, its largest trading partner.
"Taiwan has shown the world how much we love our free and democratic way of life and our nation, said Mme Tsai to the press by announcing his victory. Peace is that China abandons its threats against Taiwan. I hope the authorities in Beijing will understand that Taiwan, a democratic country, and that our democratically elected government will not give in to threats and intimidation. " China considers the island to be one of its provinces and has vowed to one day regain control, by force if necessary.
Tsai Ing-wen returns from afar
Tsai Ing-wen presents himself as the guarantor of democratic values in the face of the authoritarian power of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Like his political party, the Progressive Democratic Party (DPP), which traditionally campaigns for independence, Tsai Ing-wen rejects the principle of the unity of the island and the continent within the same China. This position provoked the ire of Beijing, which, since taking office as President of Taiwan, has continued to harden its tone. China has thus cut off all official communications with its government while intensifying economic pressures and military exercises.
A year ago, few people would have bet on a victory for Tsai Ing-wen. At the time, she was struggling in the polls and the opposition Kouomintang (KMT) party broke through in local elections. Han Kuo-yu, a newcomer to the political scene and member of the KMT, had then won the town hall of Kaohsiung, historically a stronghold of the DPP.
He was then nominated a presidential candidate for his party. However, the momentum surrounding his candidacy has started to wane, with critics denouncing his lack of experience and his overly warm relations with Beijing.