Tsai Ying-wen enjoys a broad mandate from her commanding victory in Taiwan’s presidential election and her independence-leaning party’s new legislative majority, but managing the island’s delicate relations with China will be tricky.
Already, Beijing has responded with statements following her Saturday night victory warning that it will not budge on its bottom line that Taiwan’s leader must agree that the communist mainland and self-governing island democracy are part of a single Chinese nation.
Tsai, who will be Taiwan’s first female president, won by 56% of the vote to 31% for her closest rival Eric Chu of the China-friendly Nationalist Party, which has held the presidency for the last eight years. Her Democratic Progressive Party won 68 of 113 seats in the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s parliament, giving it its first majority in the assembly long-dominated by the Nationalists.
The reasons for the massive win were many.
Outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou had been growing increasingly unpopular among Taiwan’s 23 million people, largely due to perceptions that his push for closer economic ties with China was benefiting just a few, while harming the future prospects for young Taiwanese who have seen wages stagnate and good full-time jobs harder and harder to come by.
Fearful of their original presidential candidate’s poor reception among voters, the Nationalists dumped her in favor of Chu, but even he proved unable to raise their prospects. He resigned as party chairman immediately after Saturday’s defeat. Read More