Taiwanese Voters Defy China, Elect Pro-Independence Leader for Third Term

In a historic move that reverberates across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwanese voters made a resounding statement by electing Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as their next president, marking the first time a political party in Taiwan has secured a third consecutive term. The DPP, known for its commitment to political independence from China, emerged victorious despite China’s warnings of reunification through elections or military intervention.

Lai Ching-te, addressing his supporters after the win, declared, “This is a night that belongs to Taiwan. We managed to keep Taiwan on the map of the world.” He emphasized the significance of the election in showcasing the Taiwanese people’s commitment to democracy and expressed hope for China’s understanding.

China’s response was swift and assertive, with a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisting that Taiwan’s status as part of China remains unchanged, regardless of election outcomes. The spokesperson reaffirmed the one-China principle as a cornerstone for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, urging the international community to oppose any moves towards Taiwan independence.

The DPP secured over 40 percent of the vote, while the Kuomintang political party and the Taiwan People’s Party garnered one-third and just over a quarter of the vote, respectively. Notably, the Kuomintang and the Taiwan People’s Party maintain friendlier ties with China compared to the DPP. Despite the DPP’s victory in the presidential race, the party lost control of the legislature, resulting in a fragmented political landscape with no single party holding sway over the island’s government.

Lai Ching-te characterized his win as a “victory for the community of democracies” against authoritarian regimes, particularly alluding to China. He pledged to govern in accordance with Taiwan’s democratic constitutional order while maintaining a balanced cross-strait status quo. At the same time, he emphasized the determination to safeguard Taiwan from threats and intimidation from China.

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