The main candidates today cast their vote in the Taiwan elections in which the current president, Tsai Ing-wen, starts as a clear favorite for re-election with an advantage in polls of about 20 points over her adversary, the representative of Kuomintang , Han Kuo-yu.
The polling stations opened at 08.00 local time (24.00 GMT) and will close at 16:00 hours (08.00 GMT).
More than 19 million voters, including about one million young new voters, are called to the polls to elect the president of the country and the 113 seats in Parliament, in elections considered crucial as they will decide the future of the relationship of The island with Beijing and Washington.
Tsai, who heads the list of the Democratic Progressive Party (PPD), voted early in a polling station in the capital Taipei after calling people to go to the polls in bulk.
“The weather is good today. I hope that all voters can exercise their rights to strengthen democracy in Taiwan,” he told reporters as he left school.
For his part, Han also went early to a polling station in Kaohsiung, the second city of the country, of which he is mayor, in the south of the island, accompanied by his daughter Han Bing, and made no statements.
The last polls, published ten days before election day, gave Tsai a clear advantage of more than 20 points, which has managed to turn the polls over the past half year.
The protests in Hong Kong, which began last June, and statements by Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which he did not exclude the use of force in Beijing’s relationship with Taiwan, have helped to raise Tsai in the polls in the last months.
The president, in favor of maintaining the current ‘status quo’ in the relationship with mainland China, maintains a much harder line with Beijing than Han, who advocates a closer approach to the communist regime.
“The young people of Hong Kong have used their lives and their blood to show us that the ‘one country, two systems’ model is not feasible,” Tsai proclaimed last night to the hundreds of thousands of people who attended his closing meeting. campaign in Taipei.
Although the victory of the PPD candidate in the presidential elections seems clear, it is not so much that her party can get a majority in Parliament, according to observers.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a wayward province that must return to its jurisdiction and has suspended formal relations with Taipei since Tsai was first elected in 2016 and refused to accept the principle of a single China defended by the regime.
In the last general elections of 2016, Tsai obtained 56.12 percent of the votes compared to 31.04 percent of then-candidate Kuomintang ruler Eric Chu.
Participation in that event was 66.27 percent, the lowest of the six direct presidential elections held in the country since 1996.
In the 2016 legislative sessions, the PPD won the absolute majority for the first time, with 68 seats, while the Kuomintang won 35 deputies.