Lai Ching-te sworn in as Taiwan President

The newly-elected president of Taiwan, Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was sworn in as the fifth popularly elected president of Taiwan on Monday, reported Focus Taiwan. The DPP will be the first ruling party to govern for a third consecutive four-year term, with Lai, 64, and Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim taking office since Taiwan held its first direct presidential election in 1996.

The inauguration ceremony was held at the Presidential Office, and the great seal of the nation was handed over to Lai by Legislative Speaker Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang (KMT), symbolizing Lai’s assumption of office as head of state. The celebrations to mark the inauguration of Lai Ching-te as president included street performances and a military display in Taipei on Monday morning. Moreover, the swearing-in ceremony was also attended by outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen, according to Focus Taiwan.
Lai, a four-term legislator and two-term mayor of Tainan, was Taiwan’s premier from 2017 to 2019 under the Tsai administration and later became Tsai’s deputy in 2020 when she began her second term. Meanwhile, Lai is also the first vice president to become president since presidents in the country have been popularly elected. Lai and Hsiao won the election on January 13 after winning about 40 percent of the votes in the 2024 presidential elections, keeping the DPP in power for another four years, as reported by Focus Taiwan.

The candidates of the opposition parties, including the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party, who tried but failed to form a unified presidential ticket, split the remaining 60 percent. The DPP, however, lost its majority in the Legislature after losing seats in legislative elections that were held the same day. Notably, the KMT now has 52 seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, while the DPP controls 51, Taiwan’s People Party has eight, and two are independents ideologically aligned with the KMT.