Taiwan's president wins second term after landslide election win

Taiwan's president wins second term after landslide election win
Copyright Associated Press
Copyright Associated Press
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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She beat closest challenger Han Kuo-yu, who is more conciliatory towards Beijing.


Taiwan's president has won a second term in office after a landslide election victory.

Tsai Ing-wen easily defeated her Nationalist Party rival Han Kuo-yu, gaining 57 percent of the vote.

She had campaigned on a tough stance towards giant neighbour China which still considers Taiwan to be theirs.

And after winning she warned Beijing not to try to use threats of force to gain control of the island.

Han Kuo-yu had campaigned for a more conciliatory approach to China.

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.

"``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 had 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.

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