Early results from Taiwan's parliamentary election show pro-independence parties in the lead.

President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party and its ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, are about three seats ahead of the opposition Nationalist alliance, with about a third of the votes counted.

President Chen is hoping his pro-independence coalition will win a majority in Taiwan's 225-seat legislature.

A coalition led by the Nationalist Party, which advocates unification with Beijing, currently controls 51 percent of the legislature.

A total of 386 candidates vied for 176 directly elected seats. The remaining 49 seats will be allocated based on the proportion of total votes each party receives.

Full election results are expected by 9:00 p.m. local time.