Taipei City, Jan 14 (IANS) Taiwanese voters have chosen William Lai as their President in a historic election, keeping the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in control for a third term, despite warnings from China over his pro-sovereignty views.
The move has angered Beijing, which issued a statement shortly after the results insisting that “Taiwan is part of China”, the BBC reported.
While Beijing has called for “peaceful reunification”, it has also not ruled out the use of force.
The DPP does not represent the mainstream public opinion on the island, Beijing said after Lai was named the winner of Saturday’s vote, adding that the vote “will not impede the inevitable trend of China’s reunification”, Al Jazeera reported.
Lai, 64, secured over 40 per cent of the vote in the three-way race, outpacing his closest rival, Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang, by approximately 7 percentage points, according to Taiwan’s Central Election Commission. Ko Wen-je of the emerging Taiwan People’s Party garnered 26 per cent of the votes.
By winning an unprecedented third consecutive presidential term for his party, Lai has broken new ground. In his first remarks after his opponents conceded, he signalled that this was an irreversible trajectory, the British news broadcaster reported.
“The country will continue to walk on the right path forward. We will not turn around or look backwards,” Lai said during a press conference.
“I want to thank the Taiwanese people for writing a new chapter in our democracy,” Lai said in a victory speech where he thanked his two opponents for conceding.
“We are telling the international community that between democracy and authoritarianism, we will stand on the side of democracy,” he was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.
Lai added that he hoped for a return to “healthy and orderly” exchanges with China, reiterating his desire for talks based on dignity and parity.