Monday, February 17, 2020

Tsai Ing-wen's victory in Taiwanese elections is a slap in the face for China

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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen January 11 in Taipei. SAM YEH / AFP

It was a compact, ecstatic crowd that greeted the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, in front of the scene erected in front of the headquarters of the Progressive Democratic Party (DPP) in Taipei, on the evening of Saturday, January 11. With 57.1% of the vote, the outgoing president exceeded her performance in 2016, collecting 8.1 million votes, a score unmatched since free elections were held in Taiwan (the first dates from 1996).

With a record participation rate of 74.9%, Mme Tsai, 63, won an overwhelming victory over the Kouomintang (KMT) candidate, populist Han Kuo-yu, mayor of Kaohsiung, the big city in the south of the island, credited with 38.6% of the vote .

"What had been magic in the election of Han Kuo-yu to Kaohsiung (during the municipal elections in November 2018) has obviously evaporated. Election results show that Kaohsiung's voters largely supported Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP, and that Kaohsiung is once again becoming a stronghold of the DPP. Han Kuo-yu was not the solution hoped for by the KMT to return to power "said Shelley Rigger, an American specialist in East Asia politics at Davidson College in North Carolina at a seminar in Taipei on January 12 on the consequences of the Taiwanese presidential elections.

Portrait: Tsai Ing-wen re-elected president of Taiwan: a singular woman facing China by Xi Jinping

Tsai Ing-wen also allowed his party, born from the fight against the dictatorship of the single party imposed by Tchang Kaï-chek, to keep its majority in the Parliament, which has only one Chamber, at the end of the legislative elections which stood at the same time as the presidential. The DPP obtained 61 seats out of 113 of the Legislative Yuan after a mixed vote which combines majority and proportional voting, which is seven seats less than in 2016. The KMT wins three seats, to 38. Another legislative fact: emergence as the Assembly's third force, with only five seats, of the brand new party created in the summer of 2019 by the current mayor of Taipei, Ko Wen-je, the Taiwan People's Party (TPP).

"Difficult choices"

Saturday evening, in front of thousands of green pennants – the color of his party -, with signs proclaiming " I like little Ing – the affectionate nickname given by its supporters – but also to some rainbow flags – the color of the LGBT movement (the DPP legalized same-sex marriage in 2019) – and banners of the movement Hong Kong protest, re-elected president congratulated those who voted for her for having "The courage to do it". Because "Tough choices" were waiting for the country.

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