First female president elected
Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as its first female president yesterday, 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 in the campaign after his party's original candidate 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.
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.
The United States, Taiwan's most important ally and source of defensive arms, congratulated Tsai on her victory.