January 15, 2016


Taiwan elects first female president (Tom Phillips, 16 January 2016, The Guardian)

Analysts have said growing public dissatisfaction with the outgoing KMT president, Ma Ying-jeou, and an economy that weakened dramatically last year, helped propel Tsai to victory. Her success ends eight years of KMT rule, during which there has been an unprecedented thaw in relations between the self-ruled island and China.

Ma, who gained the presidency in 2008, had faced increasing criticism for what critics describe as his opaque style of governance and the widespread perception that his pro-China policies had failed to deliver significant economic gains.

His detente with Beijing culminated in a historic cross-straits summit with Xi Jinping last November but critics said the blossoming trade and tourism ties had done little to improve ordinary people's lives.

"Over the past four years, I've travelled around Taiwan, I've seen the suffering of the people and I've heard the public's call for change," Tsai told her final campaign rally on Friday. "Democratic politics is responsible politics, if [a government] cannot do it well, then we change it."

Tsai's victory will alarm China's Communist party leaders, who still view Taiwan as part of their country's territory and hope one day to reabsorb the island, which has ruled itself since 1949. Beijing's army of internet censors blocked her name on Saturday night as the scale of the DPP victory became apparent.

"[The election result] could exert a profound influence on the region," the party-run Global Times tabloid warned this week in an editorial. "It adds uncertainties to Taiwan's mainland policy as well as the situation across the straits."

Posted by at January 15, 2016 10:17 PM