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Iran Press TV

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen wins presidential election

Iran Press TV

Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:40PM

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-separation opposition has won the presidential election, signaling a growing political gap between the East Asian island and mainland China.

Tsai told reporters at her campaign headquarters in Taipei on Saturday that the challenges Taiwan faces would "not disappear in one day."

She will become the first female president of Taiwan. Her victory over the ruling Kuomintang Party, also known as the KMT, was reported on Saturday.

The vote count continues but live television figures from polling stations show Tsai has secured victory, with about 60 percent of the votes, compared to 30 percent for KMT's candidate, Eric Chu.

Tsai said Taipei and Beijing need to find mutually acceptable ways to interact with one another. The president-elect added that she wanted to maintain the "status quo of peace and stability" in relations with China. She warned, however, that provocations and pressure from Beijing would destabilize these relations.

Tsai comes from Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which pursues separation from Beijing.

Chu conceded defeat in the presidential election announcing that his party has lost the vote. He added that he would step down as the leader of the KMT.

The KMT, unlike the DPP, had favored friendly relations between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China as part of "one China."

Some analysts say Tsai's victory could strain ties between Taiwan and China.

The government in Beijing has been closely monitoring the presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan.

China and Taiwan are physically separated by the Taiwan Strait in the West Pacific Ocean. They split politically in 1949 following a civil war.

The results of the competition for a majority in the 133-seat parliament of Taiwan which opened on Saturday simultaneously with the presidential election remain unclear, with independents and smaller parties posing a threat to both the Nationalists and the DPP.

The 59-year-old Tsai is a former academic who became leader of the DPP in 2008. She lost in the 2012 presidential race, but then gained huge popularity for the party in regional elections. Public support for the party is attributed to widespread dissatisfaction over the KMT's handling of the economy and the party's un-favored close ties with Beijing.

Tsai's victory is the second-ever victory for the DPP. The first was in 2000 and lasted for eight years. For the past 70 years, pro-Beijing KMT had been mostly in power.

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