William Lai Ching-te, considered by China as a “serious danger” due to his pro-independence positions, won Taiwan’s presidential elections this Saturday, with around 40% of the votes, according to the BBC.
William Lai Ching-te, 64, was described by Beijing as a “serious danger” due to the positions of his party, which claims that the island is de facto independent.
His main opponent, Hou Yu-ih, 66 years old, candidate of the Kuomintang (KMT), which defends rapprochement with Beijing, obtained 33.2% of the votes, according to a count by the Central Election Commission.
The third candidate, Ko Wen-je, 64 years old, from the small Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) and who presents himself as anti-system, was in third place, with 25.3%.
Taiwanese also voted to renew the 113 seats in parliament, where the DPP could lose its majority.
In the approximately 18 thousand polling stations, each ballot was collected and read aloud by those responsible for counting – a process open to the public – before being counted.
The polls closed at 4pm local time (8am in Lisbon) in this territory of 23 million inhabitants located 180 kilometers from the Chinese coast and acclaimed as a model of democracy in Asia.
Throughout the week, Beijing increased its diplomatic and military pressure. On Thursday, five Chinese balloons crossed the median line separating the autonomous island from China, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, which also spotted ten planes and six warships.
On Saturday, journalists from the France-Presse agency observed a Chinese fighter plane over the city of Pingtan, the city closest to Taiwan, and on the Chinese social network Weibo, the hashtag “Elections in Taiwan” was blocked in the morning.
Beijing appealed to voters to make “the right choice” and the Chinese military promised to “crush” any desire for independence.
The status of Taiwan is one of the most tense issues in the rivalry between China and the United States, the territory’s main military ally, and Washington plans to send an “informal delegation” to the island after the vote.
On Friday, the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, met in Washington with Liu Jianchao, head of the international division of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and highlighted the importance of “maintaining peace and stability through of the Taiwan Strait”.
Taiwan already acts as a sovereign political entity, with its own army and diplomacy, despite not being formally independent.
China considers Taiwan one of its provinces, which it has not yet managed to reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
Beijing says it is in favor of peaceful reunification with the island, where the approximately 23 million inhabitants are governed by a democratic system, but has never renounced the use of military force.
[Notícia atualizada às 12h31]
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