We have shown the world how much we value democracy. “We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with democracies around the world,” Lai said in his victory speech.
– The people of Taiwan have resisted attempts to influence the elections by external parties.
Lai went on to say that he is determined to protect Taiwan from Chinese threats, and that he wants to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
– I want to use dialogue instead of confrontation.
Lai takes over as president from fellow party member Tsai Ing-wen. With him as Vice President Hsiao Bi-Khiem.
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The struggle for sovereignty
Lai's party, the Democratic Progressive Party, which fights for Taiwan's identity and rejects China's territorial claims, has run for a third term, something that has never happened before under Taiwan's current electoral system.
Lai faced two opposing candidates, Ho Ho Yu-ae of the Kuomintang Party and former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-ji of the small Trans-Pacific Partnership party, which was recently founded in 2019. The latter was previously expected to have slim chances of winning the election.
He admitted defeat hours after the polls opened.
Unlike Lai, Hu wants closer relations with China. Hu said the focus should be on economic prosperity, and a strong relationship should be maintained with Taiwan's international partners, including the United States.
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China: – Nothing has changed
A spokesman for the Chinese authorities said that the election results show “that the Democratic Progressive Party does not represent the majority of the population.” Taiwan is China's Taiwan, and China will oppose any attempt to make Taiwan independent, Chinese authorities announced after the elections that took place on the island on Saturday.
– We will oppose all separatist activities working for “Taiwan independence” and all external interference. We will work with political parties, groups and relevant people from various sectors in Taiwan to enhance exchanges and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait, the spokesman said.
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Important internal issues
Elections for a new National Assembly were also held on Saturday, with the DPP losing its majority. However, Lai said he would include other parties in the next government.
Aside from the tension with China, the election was largely about domestic political issues, such as the sluggish economy, housing prices, the persistent gap between rich and poor, and unemployment.
Taiwan has been self-governing since the Chinese Communists won the civil war in 1949. The losing party, the Nationalists, fled to the island and established their own government there. China considers the island part of its territory. The vast majority of countries in the world, including Norway, adhere to the “one China principle” and therefore do not consider Taiwan a separate country.
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