Taiwan elects first woman president

Published January 17, 2016

TAIPEI: Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as its first female president on Saturday, handing her pro-independence party its first majority in the national legislature and rejecting the China-friendly party that has led the self-governing island for eight years.

Voters concerned that Taiwan’s economy is under threat from China and broadly opposed to Beijing’s demands for political unification resoundingly chose Tsai over the Nationalists’ Eric Chu, a late replacement for his party’s original candidate, who was seen as alienating voters.

The result should be deeply unsettling to China, which may respond by further reducing Taipei’s already limited ability to win diplomatic allies and participate in international organisations.

In a statement issued after Tsai’s win, the Chinese Cabinet’s body for handling Taiwan affairs reaffirmed its opposition to Taiwan independence, but said it would work to maintain peace and stability between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

“Our will is as strong as a rock, our attitude unswerving on the principal matter of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Taiwan Affairs Office said.

Tsai said her victory was a further show of how ingrained democracy has become on Taiwan and showed that its people wish for a government “steadfast in protecting this nation’s sovereignty.” She too pledged to maintain the status quo with China.

She said both sides have a responsibility to find a mutually acceptable means of interacting, while adding that Taiwan’s international space must be respected. She said she would correct the policy mistakes of the past, but warned that “the challenges that Taiwan faces will not disappear in one day”. Chu resigned from his party’s leadership to take responsibility for the massive loss.

In the final tally, Tsai won more than 56 per cent of votes, while Chu had 31pc and a third-party candidate trailing in the distance.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...
Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...