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By Olivia Yang and Eric Tsai

Tsai Ing-wen has been elected as the first female president of Taiwan, taking the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) into the presidential office for the next four years.

Tsai wins the election with more than 6.8 million votes, exceeding Eric Chu by around three million votes and James Soong by approximately 5.3 million.

Web polls updated on January 6 showed Tsai leading the election with around 44%, Chu with about 18%, Soong at approximately 15% and 23% not responding.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Before the vote count was completed, Chu stepped to the stage and announced his defeat. He started by saying he would step down as KMT chairperson and congratulated Tsai and the DPP. Chu says the KMT would respect the people’s decision and supervise the DPP as a loyal opposing party. He mentioned the KMT’s blueprint for Taiwan is much different from DPP’s and, “the KMT lost, but we did not lose our love for Taiwan."

Originally set to go on to make an address at 8 pm, Tsai appeared in a separate tent and held an international press conference and took questions from international and domestic media. In her opening statement, Tsai noted the importance of unity and stability within one nation, and to put political polariziation behind all parties. She went on to highlight the support from countries such as the US, Japan and so on, hoping to maintain a healthy relationship.

Asked multiple times and answered in many forms, the cross-Strait policy was again brought up. Tsai insists that she will maintain a status quo to build a mutually respectful relationship with the PRC government. A term used both in the press conference and later on in her victory speech was a “relationship with no provocations and no accidents.”

Tsai is the second DPP presidential candidate to be elected, following former president Chen Shui-bian in 2000 and 2004. During Chen’s administration, tensions were high between Taiwan and China. Tsai’s position on the cross-Strait relationship has been unclear.

Tsai sets history not just because she is the first female president, but the first chairperson to lead DPP to hold both the executive branch and majority in the Legislative Yuan.