KMT's Hou Yu-ih concedes defeat in 2024 Taiwan presidential election

He lags behind Lai, but the votes are still being tallied.

Fiona Tan | Brenda Khoo | January 13, 2024, 08:12 PM



Kuomintang’s (KMT) presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih has bowed out of the 2024 Taiwan presidential election.

The Taipei Times and Taiwan Plus News both reported that Hou has conceded defeat.

Hou bows out

He delivered a rousing speech, conceding defeat to and congratulating his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponent, William Lai Ching-te.

As of 10pm on Jan. 13, Bloomberg reported that Lai had won with 40.1 per cent of the vote, with Hou garnering 33.5 per cent, a margin of 6.6 per cent.

However, this was an arguably better performance than former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu of the KMT in 2020, who lost to DPP's Tsai Ing-wen by a margin of 18.52 per cent. However, that contest did not see a strong third-party candidate, like the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) in 2024.

Hou thanked his supporters and apologised for "disappointing" them.

He said: "Thank you everyone. With regard to the results of the election, I tried my best. Unfortunately, I disappointed everyone. I express my deepest apologies."

At the scene, there was a look of dejection among KMT supporters, according to Bloomberg.

Hou left the rally after giving his speech, thanking supporters who gave him words of encouragement. He did not make any comments to the press, however.

Hou, 65, was formally appointed by KMT as its presidential candidate on May 17, 2023.

The incumbent New Taipei City mayor may resume his duties, as he took a leave of absence to run for his presidential campaign.

TPP's Ko also conceded

The Taiwan People's Party (TPP)’s Ko Wen-je also took to the stage and conceded, saying that his party has proven itself to be a major opposition force.

Ko said that the TPP will still get votes from its supporters in four years and will get "our own victory" one day.

Ko, a former mayor of Taipei, tried to portray himself as charting a "middle" path on China, between the DPP's perceived antagonism towards Beijing, and the KMT's supposed warmth to it.

Ko received nearly 3.7 million votes and 26.5 per cent of the total vote share, some way behind the other two, despite a relatively strong showing.

However, depending on how the election results for the legislature shakes out, Ko may emerge as a "kingmaker", as Lai may need his members in order to pass legislation.

Top image from TVBS NEWS/YouTube