Tsai Ing-wen secured more than 8 million votes, well over a million more votes than last time out. It is the highest number of voters for any Presidential candidate since records began. Congrats meesage from across globe poured in to President Tsai & the DPP on their victory, President Tsai wins second term with huge margins.
It was also more than 2.5 million more votes than her rival Han Kuo-yu meaning that any attempts by his Kuomintang (KMT) party to discredit the result would have withered on the vine thanks to the scale of her victory.
Turnout in this election was 74.9 percent, more than 8 percent higher than the last presidential election. To put that in context, the UK’s general election last month attracted a turnout of 67.3 percent, while turnout in the last US presidential election in 2016 was just 55.7 percent.
Those high turnout figures are a slap in the face to those who have argued that Taiwan is tiring of democracy or that democracy just doesn’t work in ethnic Chinese countries. Not only does democracy work in Taiwan, but it is booming.
The nature of Taiwan’s future relationship with Communist China was a central theme of this election, and the people were given a stark choice: freedom, democracy, and their rightful place in the world under the DPP or subservience to a totalitarian state under the KMT. They have emphatically chosen freedom and democracy.
The level of influence the Chinese Communist Party has over Taiwan’s mainstream media outlets also has to be addressed, fear of being seen to be attacking freedom of expression that has held Tsai back from addressing this so far. But when senior Taiwanese media figures are known to be visiting Beijing to take their instructions from a hostile foreign government, it is clear that something has to give.
Tsai also recognized failings in her own work and those of her government in her victory speech. Principal among these has been communication.
Many of her policy successes have not resonated with voters, while difficult decisions she has had to take, such as public pension reform, were not explained sufficiently to the public. She has to put this right in her second term.
Her attempts to improve Taiwan’s standing in the international community have also not had the desired results so far. With a new and significant mandate, she now has to push Taiwan’s allies in the USA and Europe to facilitate Taiwan’s greater involvement in the international community, regardless of China’s resistance.