China ridicules Taiwan President on state media
An article on Chinese state media said Taiwan's new leader Tsai Ing-wen has an "extremist style" because she is unmarried. The opinion piece, published by the Xinhua news agency, said Ms Tsai did not have the "emotional burden" of a family, leading to an "erratic style" of governance. The article was written by by Wang Weixing, a senior military officer with the PLA.
The 2016 general elections in Taiwan will elect President and Vice President, and all 113 representatives of the Legislative Council. Presidential candidates and Vice-Presidential running mate are elected on the same ticket, using first-past-the-post. This is the sixth direct election of of the President and Vice President by the citizens of Taiwan, which was previously indirectly elected by the National Assembly prior to 1996.
As per Taiwan's constitution, a President can only be elected for up to two terms of four years each. So, the incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou is ineligible to seek re-election.
Key candidates of Taiwan's general election include Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), her main opponent Eric Chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and James Soong from the smaller People First Party (PFP). Ms Tsai from the opposition DPP had lost a presidential bid in 2012. Mr Chu is the mayor of New Taipei City, and is chairman of KMT.
The election is crucial, for it will decide the island's political direction in the next four years. While the ruling KMT is pro-China, the opposition DPP has traditionally leaned in favor of Taiwan's independence. DPP's Tsai had refused to accept Beijing's precondition that she first accept that Taiwan is a part of "one China." KMT's Eric Chu, like Ma, favours building ties with China.
Though Taiwan has been self-ruling after it split with China following a civil war in 1949, it has never formally declared independence. Beijing still sees it as a part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
Ties between China and Taiwan warmed under current President Ma with direct flights, postal and shipping links and introduced for the first time in 2008. A defeat for the KMT will present a serious challenge for China. KMT is perhaps Beijing's only hope of eventual reunification. DPP's win could make relations with China uncertain because of the former's pro-independence leanings.
Taiwan's younger generation is wary of closer ties with China. In 2014, student protesters occupied Taiwan's Legislature and Cabinet building to object to a trade pact that symbolized Taiwan's deepening relations with mainland China in what became known as the "Sunflower Movement." General public in recent years became discontent with the pro-China KMT which was evident in KMT's rout in 2014 local elections.
Taiwan on Saturday, voted in a historic presidential elections which could see the island elect its first female leader. Polls suggest a landslide win for Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), after eight years under the pro-China Kuomintang, or Nationalist party. More than 18 million people were expected to have cast their ballots for a new president.
Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan's main opposition party will become the island's first female President after the ruling KMT conceded defeat. "I'm sorry... We've lost. The KMT has suffered an election defeat. We haven't worked hard enough and we failed voters' expectations," said KMT candidate Eric Chu. With more than half the votes counted, Tsai was ahead with 58.1 percent, according to a live count.
Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in as Taiwa's first female President. The president's intitial days in office will be scrutinized for her approach towards relations with China. Tsai Ing-wen leads the the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a party which China thoroughly distrusts. DPP's charter incorporates a clause promoting a "sovereign and independent Republic of Taiwan" which is exactly what China is wary of.
In light of pro-independence candidate Tsai Ing-wen victory in Taiwan's elections, Beijing warned her against seeking independence and said the 'One-China policy' remained the corner-stone of its relations with other countries. Tsai also called for development of cross-straits ties, saying China was a key partner in Taiwan's progress. She also asserted that the 'One China' policy was a key facet of Taiwan's trade ties.