Taiwan's opposition, which favors closer ties with China, has won more than half of the directly elected seats in parliament to retain its majority.

The Central Election Commission in Taipei says the opposition Nationalist Party has won 79 seats, while its ally, the People First Party, has won 34 seats, and another ally, the New Party, came away with one seat.

Analysts had seen the election as a referendum on President Chen Shui-bian's policies and a chance for the president to win a mandate for reforms that would move the island toward a new identity separate from China.

A total of 386 candidates vied for 176 directly elected seats. The remaining 49 seats will be allocated based on the proportion of total votes each party receives.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war. Beijing has threatened to go to war to retake the island.