News / Asia

    Taiwan Voters Cast Ballots in Historic Elections

    Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen greets supporters from the back of a truck as she parades through the streets of New Taipei City, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen greets supporters from the back of a truck as she parades through the streets of New Taipei City, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.
    x
    Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen greets supporters from the back of a truck as she parades through the streets of New Taipei City, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.
    Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen greets supporters from the back of a truck as she parades through the streets of New Taipei City, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.

    Polls have closed in Taiwan, where voters cast ballots Saturday in elections that could bring historic changes to one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies.

    Expectations are high that front-runner and opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen could become the island’s first female president.
     
    Dealing with the island’s biggest trading partner, China, and helping strengthen a faltering economy and wage stagnation - particularly for young workers  - are some of the challenges Taiwan’s next leader will face.

    Tsai cast her ballot early Saturday morning at Hsiu Lang Elementary School just outside the capital of Taipei.

    “We have done our best, now the result is in the hands of Taiwan’s voters,” she said. “I am confident, my whole team is confident and I believe all our supporters are confident.”

    As Tsai left the school, supporters clapped and some shouted “Hello President!”

    According to most recent polls, Tsai enjoys a double-digit lead over her Nationalist Party (KMT) contender Eric Chu.

    “It’s 100 percent certain. We’re going to have a female president,” said one elderly voter, Lin Hsi–tsai. Lin said he’s hopeful that Tsai can help turn Taiwan around.

    “Look at how expensive real estate is these days. Do you really think that younger people can afford to buy a home?”

    Chen Tzu-hsuan, a first time voter, said it was exciting to cast her ballot.

    “Men have a higher position than women in society and if Taiwan gets its first female president that will be a major breakthrough for relations between men and women,” Chen said.

    The youth vote is expected to play a crucial role in the elections, not only for president, but in the legislature as well where the opposition DPP could win a majority for the first time ever.

    “I am hoping for change and I believe there will be change,” said one elderly female voter surnamed Chen. “Our lives have been gloomy for the past eight years. We really need more focus on the basic issues of people’s livelihood.”

    The KMT, which has been in power for eight years now in Taiwan and has always held a majority in the legislature has strengthened economic links with China.

    The closer ties have boosted the island’s tourism industry, but have also raised concerns about over-reliance on the world’s second largest economy, which is seeing its slowest growth in more than a quarter of century.

    Despite lagging in the polls, KMT candidate Eric Chu voiced his confidence Saturday morning as well. Chu and his wife cast their ballots at a polling station not far from where Tsai voted.

    "I believe everybody is doing his best in the elections. We are all doing our best. We will stand until the last second,” Chu said.

    China has not said much about the vote, but has said it will not work with any candidate who does not support the "one China" principle.

    Taiwan and China split following a civil war in 1949. But Beijing still regards it as a breakaway province that will someday be unified with the mainland.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora