Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen wins election with record 8.17 million votes

KMT chairman tenders resignation

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(Taiwan News photo)

(Taiwan News photo)

FINAL UPDATE: Jan. 11, 2020, 10:16 p.m.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) won a landslide victory Saturday (Jan. 11) with more than 8 million votes, a new record since direct presidential elections began in 1996, and more than 2.5 million ahead of Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).

Tsai, running for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with ex-Premier William Lai (賴清德) as her vice-presidential running mate, had received 8,170,186 votes or 57.13 percent, according to the final result from the Central Election Commission (CEC). Her total broke the record of 7.23 million votes established by KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2008.

Han, with ex-Premier Simon Chang (張善政) on the ticket, ended in a distant second place, with 5,522,119 votes or 38.61 percent. The only areas where he was leading were the counties of Miaoli, Hsinchu, Hualien, Taitung, Kinmen and Lienchiang, according to CNA.

The third candidate on the ballot, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), with his running mate, former advertising executive Sandra Yu (余湘), had received 608,590 votes or 4.25 percent, TVBS reported.

In 2016, Tsai won 56.12 percent with 6.89 million votes, KMT candidate Eric Liluan Chu (朱立倫) 31.04 percent and 3.8 million votes, and Soong 12.83 percent with 1.5 million.

Saturday’s turnout had reached 74.90 percent, TVBS reported, a sharp rise from the 66 percent recorded in 2016.

KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) tendered his resignation to take responsibility for the main opposition party’s disappointing performance, while outside party headquarters, Han supporters called on the Kaohsiung mayor to run for KMT chairman.

Voters also went to the polls to select 113 members of the Legislative Yuan, including 34 from at-large lists presented by political parties and voted in according to proportional representation.

According to data from the CEC, four parties will be represented in the at-large segment, the DPP, the KMT, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je’s Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) and the New Power Party (NPP). However, Soong’s PFP was unlikely to reach the threshold of 5 percent.

According to political tradition, the president and her new vice president will be sworn in on May 20, the new Legislative Yuan on February 1.