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Lai Ching-te elected chairman of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party

After Sunday's election, Lai widely expected to declare candidacy for president soon

Vice President Lai Ching-te at a polling station in Tainan's Nantun District, Jan. 15.

Vice President Lai Ching-te at a polling station in Tainan's Nantun District, Jan. 15. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held a by-election for party chairperson on Sunday (Jan. 15), with Taiwan’s Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) securing the chairmanship.

As the only major party member contending for the position, Lai was expected to win handily in the party’s 17th election for party chairperson. Initial reports indicate that turnout among party members was low, only about 17.59% nationally, but with no serious competition, Lai won with over 41,840 votes.

Lai will officially begin his term as DPP leader on Jan. 18. According to party rules, his term of office will end on May 20, 2024. Following on Lai’s victory for party leadership, he is widely expected to announce his bid for the presidency in the coming months.

LTN reported that Lai cast his own vote this morning in Tainan, where he was greeted by supporters who enthusiastically cheered him on. Lai told those gathered that it is up to the DPP to protect Taiwan in the years ahead. In prior remarks, Lai pledged as party leader to foster unity and discipline in the DPP.

The election was held this month after the previous party chairperson, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), stepped down in late November 2022. Tsai resigned from the position following the DPP’s dismal showing in local municipal elections, with DPP party maintaining control of only five of Taiwan’s 21 local government administrations.