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Saturday, January 16, 2016, 23:27

Tsai Ing-wen wins Taiwan leadership election

By Xinhua

Tsai Ing-wen wins Taiwan leadership election
Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen raises her hands as she declares victory in the leadership election, Jan 16, 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

TAIPEI - Tsai Ing-wen, candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party, won Taiwan's leadership election on Saturday, according to the final result of ballot counting released by the island's election commission.

In a speech at the Kuomintang headquarters in Taipei, Tsai's rival Eric Chu, candidate of the ruling Kuomintang, conceded defeat in the election. Chu said he will take responsibility for the defeat and resign from the post of KMT chairman.

Tsai had a total of 6,894,744 votes (56.1%), while Chu got 3,813,365 (31.0%). People First Party chairman James Soong had 1,576,861 votes (12.8%).

The Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council released a statement late on Saturday, saying the mainland's major principles and policies concerning Taiwan are "consistent and clear, and will not change with the results of Taiwan elections."

In the past eight years, on the political basis of adhering to the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence," both sides have jointly explored a path for the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations, set up an institutional framework for exchanges and cooperation, and maintained peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the statement said.

"Such hard-won good momentum should be cherished," it said.

"We will continue to adhere to the 1992 Consensus and resolutely oppose any form of secessionist activities seeking 'Taiwan independence'," it read.

Taiwan residents headed to the polls to vote for the island's leader and legislature during the day as polls opened at 8 am and closed at 4pm.

More than 15,000 polling stations opened across the island. About 18 million Taiwan residents were eligible to vote for the island's next leader and members of the legislature.

In 2012, ballots were cast by just under three-quarters of potential voters.

"My biggest expectation of the new leader -- don't fight with the mainland," said a middle-aged voter who identified himself with the surname Liu.

Hsu Cheng-wen, a businessman who runs a company in the mainland, came home specially for the voting. "I care about cross-Strait relations the most. I hope the new leader will stick to the 1992 Consensus, which is the foundation for a favorable and stable cross-Strait ties," he said.

Hsiao Chih-ying, a 29-year-old electronic engineer, held a similar view. "I hope politicians do not provoke confrontation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and that Taiwan can continue to be open and inclusive," said Hsiao, who was to board a bus from Taipei to Hingchu to cast a ballot.

Tsai Ing-wen wins Taiwan leadership election
Taiwan's Kuomintang candidate Eric Chu and his team members bow to supporters as he concedes defeat in the leadership election, Jan 16, 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

The legislature election was being held simultaneously, with 377 candidates running for 79 directly elected regional seats and seats for ethnic minority groups, and 179 candidates from 18 parties, the most ever, vying for 34 at-large seats. Taiwan's legislature has 113 seats.

Each eligible voter could cast two ballots in the legislature election -- one for a candidate representing the voter's district and the other for a political party to decide how many at-large seats each party can obtain.

'NO INTERVENTION'

Earlier in the day, the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said the mainland will not intervene in Taiwan's elections but it will maintain its focus on cross-Strait relations.

An unnamed spokesman of the office made the remarks when responding to a question on the elections of Taiwan leader and legislature.

"We have already made clear that we will not intervene in Taiwan's elections. What we are concerned is cross-Strait relations," said the spokesman.

The spokesman urged compatriots on both sides of the Strait to be "on high alert against political forces in Taiwan taking advantage of civilian-level exchanges to provoke conflict."

He was responding to a question on a teenage singer displaying a Taiwan flag in public recently during a performance. She later apologized for the act, prompting heated debates on the Internet.

The political foundations of the 1992 consensus and opposition to  Taiwan independence must be safeguarded, said the spokesman, adding the mainland has and will "always support cross-Strait cultural exchanges and exchanges between youth from both sides".

The spokesman said the office has been in contact with Taiwan authorities to make clear its attitude on the matter.

"We hope young people across the Strait can promote mutual understanding... and deepen correct knowledge of cross-Strait relations," the spokesman added.

Tsai Ing-wen wins Taiwan leadership election
Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang candidate Eric Chu, front center, with his wife Kao Wan-ching, front right, waves to supporters as he concedes defeat in the leadership election, Jan 16, 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

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