Taipei, Jan 13 (EFE).- William Lai of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) emerged victorious in Taiwan’s presidential election on Saturday, but the parliamentary vote threw a hung house in the self-governed island, which is claimed by China.
Lai, the outgoing vice president, secured a little over 40 percent of the votes, capitalizing on a divided opposition vote that propelled him to win despite falling short of an absolute majority.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) reported that Lai comfortably outpaced opposition candidates from the Kuomintang (KMT), Hou Yu-ih (33.4 percent), and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), Ko Wen-je (26.3 percent), based on the counting of more than 96 percent of the votes in the presidential election.
The election result marks an unprecedented triumph in Taiwan’s democratic history, with the same party leading the island for three consecutive terms.
However, no party secured a parliamentary majority for the first time since 2004. The Kuomintang (KMT) won 52 seats, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured 51, and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won eight.
The DPP leader is set to assume office on May 20.
Lai thanked Taiwanese voters for supporting the DPP in the presidential race, stating they had “written a new chapter in our democracy.”
He said the presidential election result showed the international community that “between democracy and authoritarianism, we stand on the side of democracy.”
“The Republic of China, Taiwan, will continue to walk side by side with democracies around the world,” he said in his victory speech. “We remain committed to maintaining the status quo, ensuring peace & stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and fostering global prosperity.”
He said his government was determined to safeguard Taiwan from the continuous “threats and intimidations from China.”
He said he would continue outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen’s policy and seek to resume “dialogue” and “cooperation” with Beijing, which he believes will be “beneficial” for populations on both sides of the strait.
“We hope that China will recognize the new situation and understand that only peace benefits both sides of the strait,” he said.
“Global peace and stability depend upon the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. Therefore, we hope that China will understand the situation because China also has a responsibility.”
With the elections throwing a hung parliament, Lai said he intended to “cooperate” with the opposition.
He said the Taiwanese voters had sent a message that they wanted a competent government and also strong balance of powers. EFE