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President Tsai Ing-wen declares victory in Taiwan election

Latest: Tsai Ing-wen has won reelection as President of Taiwan on Saturday night by a landslide, defeating the populist challenge of her pro-China opponent in a campaign dominated by how to handle growing pressure from Beijing.

As of 8:30 p.m. local time, with the vote still being tallied, she had received a record of over 7.7 million votes. Han Kuo-yu, of the Kuomintang Party (KMT), had received about 5.2 million votes at that time, according to Bloomberg. 

Han told supporters Saturday that he called Tsai to congratulate her on her victory, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier report: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen was poised to secure a second term after early results in Saturday's presidential election showed the incumbent emerge with a strong lead.

With over half of all votes counted, unofficial live tallies in Taiwanese media had the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate with around 58% of the vote.

Tsai's main rival, Han Kuo-yu of the China-friendly Nationalist party (KMT) party, was has pulled in 38% of votes.

Candidate James Soong of the conservative People First Party was polling at 4%.

Tsai, 63, positioned herself as protector of democracy and sovereignty on the self-governing island, where 19 million people are registered to vote. She is widely expected to win a second four-year term.

Han, a 62-year-old populist mayor of the port city of Kaohsiung, ran on a platform of improving the Taiwanese economy by building a better relationship with the mainland.

Taiwan has had de facto independence from China since 1949, but Beijing considers it part of its own territory and has vowed to retake the island, even by force if it deems necessary. Beijing has increased pressure for unification since Tsai took power in 2016.


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