Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, said after winning yesterday’s presidential election that he would protect the island from “China’s threats and intimidation”.
“We are determined to protect Taiwan from China’s constant threats and intimidation,” said the newly elected president, representative of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in a victory speech to his supporters.
He congratulated the population for successfully resisting the efforts of foreign powers to influence the elections.
Voters elected a new president of Taiwan and a new convocation of parliament yesterday.
After a campaign marked by strong diplomatic and military pressure from China, Lai (64) won the presidential election with 40.1 percent of the votes, according to 99.9 percent of the votes counted.
He will take office on May 20th.
Before the election, China assessed that Lai represented a “serious danger” because of his views in support of the independence of Taiwan, which China considers its territory.
His main opponent, Hou Jou-ji, a candidate from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) who advocates rapprochement with Beijing, received 33.5 percent of the vote, and the third candidate, Ko Wen-je from the small Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), who presented himself as an opponent of the establishment, came third with 26.5 percent of the vote.
Both opponents admitted defeat.
China, which considers Taiwan one of its provinces, urged its voters before the election to make a good choice and promised that its military would quell any inclination towards independence.
“I want to praise the Taiwanese people for writing a new chapter of our democracy,” Lai said, adding that the Taiwanese people are thereby telling the international community that “between democracy and authoritarianism, they will be on the side of democracy.”
“We are convinced that only the Taiwanese people have the right to elect their president,” Lai said.
He, however, promised to “continue exchanges and cooperation with China”.
Yesterday there was also a vote for the restoration of 113 seats in the Taiwan Parliament, where the DPP still lost its majority, according to Lai Ching-te.
Almost 20 million people had the right to vote in the presidential elections, in which the winner is the candidate with the largest number of votes, without a second round.
Lai and current president Tsai In-wen reject China’s claims over Taiwan but have offered talks with Beijing, which has repeatedly refused to talk to them, calling them separatists.