TAIPEI, Taiwan, Jan. 16 (UPI) — Democratic Progressive party candidate Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s first female president when voters elected her to office Saturday.
She defeated primary opponent Eric Chu of the Kuomintang party, taking 56 percent of the vote to his 31 percent according to Taiwan’s Central Election Commission.
“The results today tell me that people want to see a government that is willing to listen to people, that is more transparent and accountable and a government that is more capable of leading us pst our current challenges and taking care of those in need,” Tsai said in a news conference.
In addition to being the first female president, Tsai is also only the second president from outside the Kuomintang party.
Tsai’s election represents souring attitudes towards exiting president Ma Ying-jeou’s economic failures and policies in regards to relations with China. The Kuomintang party prefer China and Taiwan remain close allies, while Tsai vowed a more distant relationship to preserve the island’s sovereignty.
“Our democratic system, national identity and international space must be respected,” she said. “Any forms of suppression will harm the stability of cross-strait relations.”
Tsai is not expected to entirely cut ties with China as long as this sense of respect remains intact.
“Both sides have a responsibility to find mutually acceptable means of interaction that are based on dignity and reciprocity,” she said. “We must ensure that no provocation or accidents take place.”