Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as first female President

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Who: Tsai Ing-wen
What: Elected as first female President of Taiwan
When: 16 January 2016

Opposition candidate of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen on 16 January 2016 won a landslide victory in Taiwan’s presidential election, making her the island’s first female president.

Tsai’s commanding victory brings to power DPP, which supports Taiwan’s formal independence from China, a red line for Beijing, which claims the island as its territory.

Her victory brings the biggest mandate ever won by a DPP president. It is the second-ever victory for the DPP since Taiwan split with China in 1949.

In the 2016 general elections, DPP led by Tsai emerged victorious with 56 percent of the total vote share. She defeated Eric Chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party that secured 31 percent vote share. Chu also made the announcement of quitting as KMT head. Taiwan’s Premier Mao Chi-kuo also resigned.

About Tsai Ing-wen

Born on 31 August 1956 in Taipei, Taiwan, Tsai graduated from the College of Law, National Taiwan University in 1978. She obtained a Master of Laws at Cornell University Law School in 1980 and then a Ph.D. in law at the London School of Economics in 1984.

Upon her return to Taiwan, she taught law at Soochow University School of Law and National Chengchi University both in Taipei, Taiwan.

She served as consultant for the Mainland Affairs Council and the National Security Council.

She also led the drafting team on the Statute Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau.

In 2000, she was given the high-profile appointment of chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council.

She joined the DPP in 2004.

She was subsequently nominated by the DPP to be a candidate in the 2004 legislative election and was elected as a legislator-at-large.

On 26 January 2006, she was appointed to the post of vice president of the Executive Yuan.

She was elected and assumed DPP chairpersonship in 2008, following her party’s defeat in the 2008 presidential election.

She ran for New Taipei City mayorship in the November 2010 municipal elections but was defeated by another former vice premier, Eric Chu (KMT).

In April 2011, she became the first female presidential candidate of a major party in the history of the Republic of China.

She was defeated by incumbent Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou in the 5th direct presidential election in 2012.

Comment

In 1949, KMT nationalists formed their own government in Taiwan after Mao Zedong’s communists took power in Beijing.

Therefore, China sees the island as a breakaway province, which it has threatened to take back by force if necessary.

The KMT Party has ruled Taiwan for almost past 70 years and has overseen improved relations with China in recent times.

Tsai’s landslide victory marks a defeat for not only the pro-unification ruling party KMT but also China.