In a blow to China and a triumph for Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female president, was re-elected as president for the next four years, securing 57.1% of the votes, while her main rival, pro-China Han Kuo-yu received 38.6% of the votes. President Tsai, known for her progressive policies and support for Taiwanese independence, has experienced a surge in popularity over the last few months in light of recent geopolitical events. Demonstrations in Hong Kong following Beijing’s perceived increasing influence over the semi-autonomous region sparked fears in Taiwan about the region’s future, should it not elect a leader trusted to protect its sovereignty. In addition, the US-China trade war has allowed President Tsai’s security and economic policies to finally align, gaining her increased support from businesses, as Taiwan-owned businesses in China diversify by investing more in South East Asia and Taiwan itself.
President Tsai’s triumph will likely anger China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and has been attempting to undermine Ms. Tsai’s presidency as well as Taiwan’s push for independence through attempted military threats, economic coercion, diplomatic isolation, and the spread of disinformation. It is unclear exactly how Beijing will respond, but President Tsai’s victory is a sign of Taiwan's pushback against China.