Lai Wins Taiwan's Presidency, But His Ruling DPP Loses Majority In Parliament

Lai Wins Taiwan's Presidency, But His Ruling DPP Loses Majority In Parliament

Jan. 14, 2024, 8:42 a.m.

Lai Ching-te won the presidency in Saturday's elections in Taiwan, but his ruling Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, lost its majority in parliament.

The results show that Lai received 40 percent of the ballots cast, or nearly 5.6 million votes.

Hou Yu-ih of the largest opposition Kuomintang Party garnered nearly 4.7 million votes. He was followed by Ko Wen-je of the second-largest opposition Taiwan People's Party, who received about 3.7 million votes.

Voter turnout was 71.86 percent. That is down more than three percentage points from the last election, which was held four years ago.

Lai has taken the position that China and Taiwan are different, and he has pledged to continue the policies of President Tsai Ing-wen, who bolstered cooperation with the United States in an effort to deter Beijing.

The two opposition candidates criticized Lai for describing himself as a "pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence."

Hou has blamed the DPP-led government for bringing the risk of military clashes to both sides of the Taiwan Strait. He said he would lower the risks by promoting cross-strait contacts.

But Hou and Ko failed to collect enough support to win the election. China described the race as a choice between war and peace.

Lai said in a victory speech on Saturday night that the people of Taiwan successfully resisted efforts from external forces to influence the election.

Lai's victory means the DPP will become the first political party in Taiwan to win three consecutive terms since direct presidential elections began in 1996. He is set to take office in May.

In the parliamentary elections on Saturday, the Kuomintang Party won 52 of the legislature's 113 seats.

The DPP captured 51 seats and lost 11. The Taiwan People's Party, or TPP, won eight seats.

The DPP's parliamentary election setback appears to reflect public discontent over rising housing prices and the public's psychological aversion to being ruled by one party for a long time.

Lai said the DPP's failure to hold onto the parliamentary majority means the party's efforts were not enough. He said the party should respect the opinions of the public.

The loss of the majority is expected to make it difficult for Lai to implement his policies.

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