TAIPEI (Web Desk) – Tsai Ing-wen has been elected Taiwan’s first female president, the BBC reported on Saturday.
Tsai, 59, leads the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that wants independence from China.
In her victory speech, she vowed to preserve the status quo in relations with China, adding Beijing must respect Taiwan’s democracy and both sides must ensure there are no provocations.
China sees the island as a breakaway province – which it has threatened to take back by force if necessary.
In her speech, Tsai hailed a “new era” in Taiwan and pledged to co-operate with other political parties on major issues. The will of the Taiwanese people would be the basis for relations with China’s Ms Tsai said, urging both sides to show “dignity and reciprocity” in their relations.
She thanked the US and Japan for their support and vowed Taiwan would contribute to peace and stability in the region.
Tsai had a commanding lead in the vote count when Eric Chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) admitted defeat.
Chu congratulated Tsai Ing-wen and announced he was quitting as KMT head. Taiwan’s Premier Mao Chi-kuo also resigned.
The election came just months after a historic meeting between the leaders of Taiwan and China.
The KMT has been in power for most of the past 70 years and has overseen improved relations with Beijing – Ms Tsai’s victory means this is only the second-ever victory for the DPP.
The first was by pro-independence advocate Chen Shui-bian – during his time as president between 2000 and 2008 tensions escalated with China.