TIME – The people of Taiwan elected their first female President on Saturday — a bookish technocrat who has vowed to put domestic concerns above deepened ties with China, which are increasingly seen here as a poisoned chalice.
Tsai Ing-wen, a U.S.- and U.K.-trained scientist, and leader of the Beijing-skeptic Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), took some 56% of the vote to end eight years of Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) rule blighted by anemic growth and soaring inequality.
“We will put political polarization behind us and look forward to the arrival of an era of new politics in Taiwan,” Tsai said after her victory. “The people expect a government that can lead this country into the next generation, a government that is steadfast in protecting this country’s sovereignty.”
Capping a disastrous night for the former ruling party, Freddy Lim, lead singer of the death-metal band Chthonic, defeated the KMT’s Lin Yu-fang in his Taipei constituency.
“I’m sorry … We’ve lost. The KMT has suffered an election defeat,” KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu told the crowd gathered at the party’s Taipei headquarters. “We haven’t worked hard enough and we failed voters’ expectations.”