Unofficial early results from Taiwan’s presidential elections suggest Tsai Ing-wen is on course to win a second term in office.
With 10.5% of precincts reporting, results from the Central Election Commission showed Tsai with 57.96% of the votes and Han with 38.34%. TV networks reported that Tsai was ahead in almost all major cities.
Taiwanese TV networks reported that she is in front of her closest challenger, Han Kuo-yu of the Nationalist Party.
He campaigned for a more conciliatory approach to China.
The island of Taiwan separated from China during the civil war in 1949 but it has never declared formal independence.
For many in Taiwan, months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, have driven home the contrast between their democratically governed island and authoritarian, communist-ruled mainland China.
Tsai portrayed the election as a chance to protect Taiwan’s democracy.
This is how votes across Taiwan are counted — anyone can come in and watch every single vote being counted. — designed to avoid any suspicion of electoral fraud #TaiwanElection #Taiwan2020 pic.twitter.com/SfkyXfD7iI
— James Chater 陳傑銘 (@james_chater) January 11, 2020
““Let us tell the world with our own votes that Taiwanese are determined to defend sovereignty, determined to guard democracy and determined to persist in reforms,” she said at a rally late on Friday.
The Nationalist Party’s Han has said Taiwan should be more open to negotiations with China, in contrast to Tsai, who has dismissed Beijing’s overtures. At his last rally, attended by hundreds of thousands of people in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, he focused on practical issues such as improving education and the economy.
““I want to attract massive investments. I want products to be exported nonstop,” he said.
The Hong Kong protests have undermined support in Taiwan for the “one country, two systems” approach Beijing has championed for governing both that former British colony and Taiwan.
Fears of Chinese interference in Taiwan’s politics and an uptick in the economy helped Tsai regain an edge after a dire electoral setback for her Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, 14 months ago.