Taiwan's female president won reelection

Taiwan's female president won reelection



Taiwan’s first female President Tsai Ing-Wen reelected with a clear majority. Tsai Wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party got nearly 57% votes as compare to the 39% received by her closet rival Kuomintang candidate Han Kuo-yu. The turnout seems high. Nearly 805 voters cast their ballot in the last presidential elections. 

Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party also gained clear majority in legislature’s election. Tsai gained commanding majority and will not face any obstacle in making policies and laws. The opposition Kuomintang trounced in the legislatures elections.

In her victory speech – the president said the election proved that when Taiwan’s sovereignty is threatened, its people will “shout our determination even more loudly back.”

She said she was open to discussions with China but only if a set of conditions is met, such as China abandoning its threats of force against Taiwan, each side acknowledging the other’s right to exist and Taiwan’s 23 million people having the right to decide its future.

“I also hope that the Beijing authorities understand that a democratic Taiwan and our democratically elected government will not concede to threats and intimidation,” Tsai said. “Positive cross-straits interaction, founded in mutual respect, is the best way to serve our peoples. The results of this election have made that answer crystal clear.”

Her rival Han - the populist mayor of the southern port city of Kaohsiung conceded defeat and said to supporters that “Taiwan’s democracy- freedom and rule of law are our most precious assets. Our fellow citizens have made this decision, and as candidates, we must respect the results of the election.”

The pro-Tsai media and political analysts accused China for running social media disinformation campaigns against Tsai. Tsai campaigned around the idea of defending Taiwan’s democracy against Chinese aggression. Her message gained support among the big sections of population. 
     
Since 1996 when martial Law finally ended- Taiwan has evolved into a full-fledged democracy. The democratic institutions have been strengthened in last 23 years. Taiwanese politics is bitterly divided between pro-china and Anti China forces and leadership. Many people in Taiwan still see China as a threat to their sovereignty and freedom.

The presidential campaign played out with all the hallmarks of politics in the internet age, from concerns about Chinese disinformation to a deeply polarized electorate that relies on dueling media sources.

In Taiwan, the divide between Tsai’s DPP (Democratic Progressive Party)- whose color is green, and Han’s KMT(Kuomintang).   Younger voters are more likely to lean green and, seeing little in common between their democracy and communist China, are more likely than their elders to consider themselves Taiwanese, distinct from mainlanders, rather than Chinese.

Support for the Hong Kong protesters is also widespread in Taiwan- with people posting messages on pro-democracy online bulletin boards and donating supplies, including gas masks. But some Taiwanese say there is no immediate danger of becoming another Hong Kong, pointing to the strength of their democratic institutions.
                                     Khalid Bhatti


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