The resutls of Taiwan’s national election (yes, it is a country) are not yet complete, but every intermediate count is showing the same result: Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) leads with over 58% of the presidential vote, with Han Guo-yu (KMT) second at 38%, and James Soong (PFP) a distant third at 4%.
Update: Multiple scources report a voter turnout rate of 74.9%, this despite the fact that many people must travel to vote. Unless people own property, they are required to vote where they grew up, a silly rule that needs to change. Citizens are required to give the governmwnt their new address if they move, so the government knows where everyone is. Let them vote where they live.
Preliminary voting counts were not allowed before 4PM when the polls closed. Yes, that’s unusually early compared to other countries, but voter turnout is still high. Taiwan is a single time zone and 90% of the population lives on the western side, so there was no risk of an east coast bias like there is in Canada or the US. But it’s still a good idea to ban early returns to avoid morning voters influencing afternoon voters.
The News Lens is reporting live results as they come in. The restriction on early vote counts has meant people are all checking the internet at the same time. Since 4PM until now (7PM as I write) several news websites have crashed from overloading.
All of the west coast counties have voted for Tsai except two, Miaoli and Hsinchu, which are farming districts. Hsinchu City is where the industrial parks (i.e. computer and other industries) are based, so I would have expected them to lean rightward but instead they voted for Tsai. (In those counties, Han only leads Tsai 50% to 45%.) The east coast counties of Hualien and Taitung and two island counties (Kinmen, Lienchiang) are predominantly fishing and traditionally conservative areas, so it’s not surprising that they voted for Han.
The biggest surprise thus far is southern Taiwan. The southern half has always been KMT territory and pro-unification. Han was the mayor of Kaohsiung and rode a southern wave of popularity, yet he lost in his home district. He and his party’s repeated incompetence didn’t help matters. All candidates are assigned a number, and voters choose them at the polls. Han’s campaign chose to place 9, 2, and 1 together in a campaign ad, which angered people almost as much as using 911 in the US would (the September 21, 1999 eathquake that killed 2400). Han inferrred recently that Tsai would bring dictatorship and invoked the “white terror”, ignoring the fact that it was his KMT that perpetrated the white terror. And it came to light in the last week that Han had been seeking dual Canadian citizenship, something not allowed for presidential candidates.
It’s almost as if the KMT were trying to self-destruct.