News Brief

In A Setback To China, Lai Ching-Te Wins Presidential Election In Taiwan Even After "Psychological Warfare"

Nishtha Anushree

Jan 14, 2024, 03:55 PM | Updated 03:55 PM IST

Lai Ching-te
Lai Ching-te

Against China's wishes, the ruling party in Taiwan won the elections on Saturday (13 January) as its presidential candidate Lai Ching-te defeated the main opposition party the Kuomintang's (KMT) Hou Yu-ih.

Lai's Democratic Progressive Party (LPP) champions a separate identity for Taiwan and rejects China's territorial claims. The party won a third term and a second term consecutively.

This comes after Taiwan's defence ministry accused China last week of endangering aviation safety and engaging in psychological warfare by deploying numerous balloons near or over the island, just days before crucial elections.

After the victory, Lai posted on X, "Today, Taiwan has once again shown the world our people’s commitment to democracy... Looking forward, we remain committed to upholding peace in the Taiwan Strait and being a force of good in the international community."

Historically, the KMT has supported strong ties with China, though it denies being pro-Beijing. He had accused Lai of supporting Taiwan's formal independence.

On the other hand, Global Times had described Lai as an "extremist" supporter of independence, emphasising the potential for military confrontation across the Taiwan Strait if he is elected.

Lai had to defeat two opponents for the presidency - the KMT's Hou and former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je of the small Taiwan People's Party, which was founded in 2019, Economic Times reported.

Before voting, Lai had urged voters to cast votes and appealed to them to do this for "Taiwan's hard-earned democracy."

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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