ANI Photo | As Taiwan heads to polls, country’s three presidential candidates cast their ballots

As Taiwanese prepare to cast their votes to determine the fate of their country, the three presidential contenders for Taiwan in the 2024 general election cast their ballots early on Saturday, according to Taiwan News.
The presidential candidates from the three major parties are: the Democratic Progressive Party’s Lai Ching-te and his running partner Hsiao Bi-khim; the Taiwan People’s Party’s Ko Wen-Je and his running mate Wu Hsin-Ying; and the Kuomintang’s Hou Yu-ih and his running mate Jaw Shaw-kong.
According to Taiwan-based SET news, Lai travelled to Anping Elementary School in Tainan’s Anping District, Tainan City, to cast his ballot.
He said that he loved every chance to cast a ballot and that he saw Taiwan’s democracy as a labour of love.
Whereas, at the Da’an district of Taipei’s Jinou Girls’ High School, Ko cast his ballot, Taiwan news reported citing Channel News Asia.
Meanwhile, Hou visited Banqiao Elementary School in New Taipei City’s Banqiao District to vote.
The election will not only determine Taiwan’s president, and vice president, but also 113 legislators, which will include 73 district lawmakers, six Indigenous lawmakers, and 34 legislators-at-large.
The polls opened at 8 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m.
In a strict appeal, voters are reminded by the Central Election Commission to arrive at their assigned polling place with their national ID card, voting notice, and personal seal (chop).
It stated that encouraging or discouraging others to vote, as well as causing disturbances or interfering within 30 metres of the polling place, are forbidden, Taiwan News reported.
It stated that offenders might be imprisoned for up to a year, placed under confinement, or fined up to New Taiwan dollars15,000 (USD482.46) even after being stopped by security officers.
Moreover, mobile phones, and other cameras are not allowed in the polling stations, but devices with the power turned off are exempt from the restrictions.
Notably, 70 per cent of the island’s 19.5 million voters are registered to vote, and they are spread throughout the five biggest cities: Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, according to Al Jazeera.
There are 17,795 polling stations, the majority of them in schools.
The result, however is expected late on Saturday.
The world is keenly watching Taiwan as its citizens prepare to vote for a new President and Parliament amidst escalating tensions with China.
Beijing’s increasing threats towards Taipei over the past eight years have raised concerns, and the world awaits not only the election results but also the response from Taiwan’s ‘authoritarian neighbour,’ as reported by CNN.
In terms of age groups in the presidential election, 40-49-year-olds make up the largest voting bloc with 3.88 million eligible voters, or 19.88 per cent of the electorate, followed by 50-59-year-olds with 3.53 million eligible voters, who account for 18.06 per cent of the electorate, Taiwan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said in a statement.
Around 2.84 million of age from 20-29 year-olds are eligible to vote in the presidential election this time, the CEC said.
Taiwanese voters will be choosing a successor to Tsai Ing-wen, the nation’s first female president, who cannot seek re-election due to term limits after winning in 2016 and 2020. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), led by Tsai, is viewed unfavourably by China, which considers Taiwan a sovereign nation.

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