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The ruling-party candidate strongly opposed by China wins Taiwan’s presidential election

Ruling-party candidate Lai Ching-te emerged victorious in Taiwan’s presidential election on Saturday and his opponents conceded, a result that will determine the trajectory of the self-ruled democracy’s relations with China over the next four years.

China had called the poll a choice between war and peace. Beijing strongly opposes Lai, the current vice president who abandoned his medical career to pursue politics from the grassroots to the presidency.

At stake is peace, social stability and prosperity on the island, 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the coast of China, which Beijing claims as its own and to be retaken by force if necessary.

While domestic issues such as the sluggish economy and expensive housing also featured prominently in the campaign, Lai’s Democratic Progressive Party’s appeal to self-determination, social justice and rejection of China’s threats ultimately won out. It’s the first time a single party has led Taiwan for three consecutive four-year presidential terms since the first open presidential election in 1996.

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