Given Taiwan’s pivotal position as a flashpoint in global security, its recent combined presidential and legislative elections attracted widespread attention. Most of the coverage viewed the elections through the lens of Taiwan’s relations with China and its implications for cross-strait tensions, which have been high for the eight years President Tsai Ing-wen, of the Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, has been in office.
The relationship with China matters to be sure, but the campaign was also driven by domestic concerns that didn’t make the international headlines. With the votes counted and the results announced, it’s worth taking stock of an election that will certainly shape events, both on the island and beyond, for years to come.
In a three-way race, the DPP’s candidate, Lai Ching-te, won the presidency with 40 percent of the vote. Hou Yu-ih of the Chinese Nationalist Party, or KMT, finished second with 33.5 percent, and Ko Wen-je of the the Taiwan People’s Party, or TPP, took 26.5 percent. Lai’s victory represents the DPP’s third term in power, unprecedented for any party; he served as vice president under Tsai, who is stepping down following her constitutionally allowed two terms.