Taiwanese voters head to polls for key elections
Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) The polls have opened for Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections being held Saturday, with early results expected to come in within hours of polling stations closing at 4 p.m.
There are just over 19.31 million eligible voters in the country's 22 cities and counties, nearly 70 percent of whom are registered in the six special municipalities -- Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung -- according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Some 1.18 million 20-23 year-olds, accounting for 6 percent of the electorate, are eligible to vote in presidential and legislative elections for the first time, the CEC said.
A total of 17,226 polling stations across Taiwan were opened at 8 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m. The votes will be immediately counted and reported to local and central election authorities.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is facing off against Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and James Soong (宋楚瑜), chairman of the smaller People First Party (PFP), in the presidential race.
In the last presidential election held in 2016, Tsai won easily with 56.12 percent of the vote against 31.04 percent for Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the then-ruling KMT and 12.84 percent for Soong.
Voter turnout was 66.27 percent, the lowest of the six direct presidential elections Taiwan has held since 1996.
In the legislative race, the DPP won 68 seats, the first time the party had an absolute majority. The KMT won 35 seats, followed by the New Power Party's five seats, and the People First Party's two seats.
This year, 650 candidates from 43 political parties are seeking to fill the 113 seats in the legislature, according to the CEC.
Of the 113 seats, 73 are elected directly in first-past-the-post races, six are elected in aboriginal constituencies, and 34 are elected as at-large candidates based on a separate vote for a political party.
The president will be sworn in May 20, while elected legislators will be sworn in Feb. 1.
For updates on the tallying of votes, check out CNA's live blog and social media pages such as Twitter and Facebook.
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