In a victory against a Beijing-friendly candidate, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured a second term in Saturday’s election with a record 8.17 million votes. Her main contender Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomingtang (KMT) party received only 5.5 million votes.

More than 14 million voters turned out to the polling stations – a turnout rate of 74.9 per cent – higher than the 66 per cent seen in the 2016 election, according to the Central Election Commission.

Taiwan election January 10 Democratic Progressive Party DPP Tsai Ing-wen
Photo: KM/United Social Press.

Tsai’s DPP is also set for a majority in the legislature, taking 61 seats out of 113 through legislative votes, in comparison to 38 won by the KMT.

HKFP rounds up reactions to the results.


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The United States congratulates Dr Tsai Ing-wen on her re-election in Taiwan’s presidential election. We also congratulate Taiwan for once again demonstrating the strength of its robust democratic system, which—coupled with a free market economy and a vibrant civil society—makes it a model for the Indo-Pacific region and a force for good in the world.

The United States thanks President Tsai for her leadership in developing a strong partnership with the United States and applauds her commitment to maintaining cross-Strait stability in the face of unrelenting pressure. Under her leadership, we hope Taiwan will continue to serve as a shining example for countries that strive for democracy, prosperity, and a better path for their people.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu

The Government of Japan congratulates the smooth implementation of the democratic election and Ms Tsai on her victory again.

Taiwan is an important partner and a precious friend of Japan. We share basic values and enjoy [a] close economic relationship and people to people exchange. The Government of Japan will work toward further deepening cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Taiwan, based on the existing position to maintain Japan-Taiwan relations as a working relationship on a non-governmental basis.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu
Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu. Photo: Wikicommons.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO)

In a statement released late on Saturday, TAO reiterated Beijing’s policy toward Taiwan based on its “One China” principle. “We insist on ‘peaceful unification’ and ‘one country, two systems’ model,” a spokesperson said, adding that authorities resolutely opposed any forms of “Taiwan independence” separatist attempts.

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

The presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan today are testament to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy. I offer warm congratulations to the people of Taiwan on the smooth conduct of those elections and to Dr Tsai Ing-wen and her party on her re-election. I hope that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will renew dialogue to resolve differences and build constructive relations across the Strait.

Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab. Photo: GovUK.
European Union spokesperson

We congratulate the people of Taiwan for the high turnout on their elections. Our respective systems of governance are founded on a shared commitment to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

The European Union closely follows cross-Strait developments, and has consistently encouraged dialogue and constructive engagement.

German Institute in Taipei

Thomas Prinz, head of the German representative office in Taiwan, congratulated to Tsai for her re-election. He praised the incumbent president for having upheld the fundamental values shared by both Germany and Taiwan, including freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.

Canadian Trade Office in Taipei

The Canadian Representative Office in Taiwan congratulated Taiwan for holding the elections on Saturday. It also said it looked forward to further strengthening people-to-people ties as well as its trade and investment relationship with the island based on such shared values as democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Mario Abdo Benítez, president of Taiwan’s south American ally Paraguay

The Paraguayan president congratulated Tsai for her re-election. He described Saturday’s elections as a historic event in which Taiwanese people reaffirmed their faith in democracy and freedoms.

Timothy Harris, prime minister of Taiwan’s Caribbean ally Saint Kitts and Nevis

My hearty congratulations @iingwen on being re-elected as President of the Republic of China (#Taiwan). It is testimony to your outstanding leadership and vision for your country’s future. We look forward to our continued friendship and collaborative working going forward.

Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of Taiwan’s Caribbean ally Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Congratulations to my dear friend @iingwen on her resounding victory at the polls, being re-elected as President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). I look forward to continue working with you strengthening the relationship between both our countries @MOFA_Taiwan @Taiwan_Today

Jovenel Moïse, president of Taiwan’s Caribbean ally Haiti

Moïse said the Haitian people and government extended the warmest congratulations to Ms Tsai Ing-wen for her re-election.

Thomas Remengesau Jr., president of Taiwan’s Pacific ally Palau

On behalf of the Republic of Palau, I would like to congratulate a dear friend and a great ally, President Tsai Ing-wen, ROC-Taiwan on your re-election!

US lawmakers and politicians

US Senator Marco Rubio

Congratulations to President @iingwen for winning re-election in #Taiwan. Senator Rubio looks forward to strengthening the US-Taiwan relations in years to come.

US Senator Joah Hawley

Congratulations to @iingwen on her historic victory! President Tsai has been a fearless champion in the fight against #China imperialism. Here’s to many more years of standing together for a free & open Asia

Teng Pei-ju is a journalist based in Taipei, Taiwan, covering mostly politics and diplomacy.