Tsai Ing-wen elected President of Taiwan, first female to hold office

tsai-waves
Photo: AP/Ng Han Guan

Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party 民主進步黨, Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文, has won the 2016 Presidential Election of Taiwan. Together with her running mate, Vice President-elect Chen Chien-jen 陳建仁, they received 56.12% (6,894,744 votes) of the ballots cast, winning in a landslide against candidates from the governing KMT Chairperson Eric Chu 朱立倫 (31.04%, 3,813,365 votes), and PFP Chairperson James Soong Chu-yu 宋楚瑜 (12.84%, 1,576,861 votes). Tsai and Chen will be sworn into office on May 20, 2016.

View her victory press conference here (in Mandarin and English):

Interesting tidbits about this election: all three pairs of Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates belong to different political parties. VP-elect Chen Chien-jen and Eric Chu’s running mate Jennifer Wang 王如玄 are both independent, while James Soong’s running mate Hsu Hsin-ying 徐欣瑩 is the chairperson of Minkuotang 民國黨 (or Republican Party). Tsai, in additional to being the first female President of Taiwan and of the Chinese-speaking world, is also the first President to be unmarried, of mixed Hoklo-, Hakka-, and Paiwan-descent, to not come from a political family, and the second female to be democratically elected president in East Asia (after South Korea’s Park Geun-hye).

In addition, Legislative Election also created history to hand DPP full control (68 seats out of 113) of the Legislative Yuan for the first time. Since 1949, KMT has maintained majority in the Legislature either by itself or in coalition with other political parties, even after the entire legislature was up for election starting 1991. Incumbent Speaker Wang Jin-pyng 王金平 (KMT) has served the post since 1999, even when DPP held relative majority during 2001-2008.

Of the remaining seats in the Legislative Yuan, KMT occupies 35 (compared to 2012 where it won 64 seats), the New Power Party (NPP) 時代力量, established in 2015, occupies 5, PFP occupies 3, Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) 無黨團結聯盟 occupies 1, and there is one independent occupying 1 seat. Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which occupies 3 seats since 2012, failed to receive enough votes for representation. The 9th Legislative Yuan will be sworn into office on February 1, 2016.

2016 Legislative Yuan

KMT = 35 | DPP = 68 | NPP = 5 | PFP = 3 | NPSU = 1 | Independent = 1

Of the 113 legislators, 70 are male and 43 (38%) are female, and the average age of the legislators is 49.94. (Compared to 2012, with 75 males, 38 females, and average age of 52.49.)

Read further analysis on the election in the Jacobin’s “The Taiwanese Way”.

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