Tsai Ing-wen claims victory in Taiwan presidential race

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) declared victory in a speech to supporters as results from Saturday's presidential election indicated she was on track for a landslide win.

Speaking at the DPP's election headquarters in Taipei, Saturday, January 11, Tsai, 63, pledged to continue reports and strengthen national security.

Earlier, Han Kuo-yu of the main opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) conceded defeat, saying he called Tsai to congratulate her on her victory.

In a speech at his campaign headquarters in the southern city of Kaohsiung, Han, 62, urged Tsai to work for the welfare of the people of Taiwan in her second term.

As for himself, Han said he will return to work as Kaohsiung mayor on Monday, January 13.

After Han's speech, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih announced his resignation from his position.

Results indicate Tsai received more than 8 million votes, a record high since the island's first democratic presidential election in 1996.

Although the election authority has not yet formally declared Tsai the winner, she was leading Han in the vote count by more than 2.6 million votes. James Soong, a third-party candidate, was far behind in the count.

Earlier in the evening at Han's campaign headquarters, where a somber mood had descended, a Han supporter speaking on the stage told the assembled crowd that crying would solve nothing.

"The party needs to know what went wrong and why voters don't identify with the KMT. If hope is lost, it would be the worst defeat," he said.

Polling stations closed at 4 pm after being open for 8 hours.

In 2016, Tsai was elected Taiwan's first female president with a substantial majority in both the popular vote and seats won by her party in the legislature. The scale of the victory, coupled with the DPP's pro-independence history, led to Beijing cutting ties with the new government.

In the legislative election also held Saturday, the DPP is also in the lead, according to the early results.

Taiwan's single-house legislature consists of 113 members, of whom 73 are district representatives, 34 are proportionally elected at-large representatives and six are aboriginal representatives.

In 2016, Tsai's DPP secured 68 seats, nearly double the KMT's 35. – Rappler.com