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Six historic firsts in the 2016 presidential and legislative elections

ROC Central News Agency

2016/01/17 01:53:04

Taipei, Jan. 17 (CNA) The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was elected the new president of Taiwan on Saturday, completing the third transition of power in Taiwan's democratic history.

The following are the six 'firsts' seen in the 2016 presidential and legislative elections.

1. First female president

Tsai became the first female president to lead the Republic of China (Taiwan), joining the ranks of female heads of state in Asia, including South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Before Tsai, the woman who achieved the highest government position in Taiwan was Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who served as vice president of Taiwan from 2000 to 2008.

2. DPP's first legislative majority

The DPP won an absolute majority in the Legislature for the first time in history by taking 68 of 113 legislative seats. Even though Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) became the first DPP candidate to win the presidency in 2000, the DPP never held an absolute majority in the legislative body, though it did have the most seats of any party from 2001 to 2004.

3. Voter turnout drops to below 70 percent for first time

The voter turnout rate for the presidential election this year was 66.27 percent, including invalid votes, the lowest ever since Taiwan began popular elections of its president in 1996. The previous low was 74.38 percent in 2012.

4. Vice presidential candidates not members of party of presidential running mates

In this election, DPP vice presidential candidate Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and the Kuomintang's vice presidential candidate were not members of any party, while People First Party James Soong's (宋楚瑜) running mate, Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩), was the founder of the Minkuotang, a new party that sprouted up in early 2015.

5. Record set for presidential runs

James Soong was vying for the presidency for the third time, more than any other candidate in the six direct presidential elections held in Taiwan to date. He made unsuccessful runs in 2000 and 2012, with his bid in 2000 falling short by a mere 2.46 percentage points to the winner Chen Shui-bian of the DPP.

6. First change of candidates in the middle of the campaign

The KMT formally nominated Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) as its presidential candidate on June 17, 2015 after the party's heavyweights opted not to vie for the nomination.

However, Hung's candidacy sparked resistance within the party over her pro-unification views, prompting KMT chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) to remove her as the party's nominee four months later. Chu was recruited by KMT party members to represent the party in Hung's place.

(By Christie Chen and Luke Sabatier)

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