Taiwan Elects First Female President

Pro-independence president-elect promises 'new era'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2016 7:02 AM CST
Taiwan Elects First Female President
Supporters shout slogans as Taiwan's ruling KMT or Nationalist Party presidential candidate Eric Chu concedes defeat in the presidential election, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan.    (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Tsai Ing-wen promised a "new era" for Taiwan on Saturday after being elected as the island's first female president. The 59-year-old, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, defeated the Nationalist Party's Eric Chu with around 60% of the vote, reports the Los Angeles Times. Tsai will take office in May. Nationalist President Ma Ying-jeou has already served two terms and Taiwan's constitution didn't allow him to seek a third, the AP notes. "We failed. The Nationalist Party lost the elections. We didn't work hard enough," Chu told supporters at party headquarters, announcing his resignation as party chief.

The election marks what the BBC calls a "turning point in Taiwan's democracy and relationship with China," which still officially considers the island to be a renegade province. "I am very happy. I feel I have finally accomplished something for Taiwan, so that Taiwan will have great autonomy instead of just following China," a 32-year-old engineer who voted for Tsai tells the LAT. Tsai has said she favors maintaining the status quo, though her refusal to support the principle of reunification between China and Taiwan makes it uncertain whether the closer ties with Beijing that Ma introduced will continue, reports the AP. (More Taiwan stories.)

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