Ms Tsai and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in defeating the Kuomintang (KMT), ended an eight-year rapprochement with Beijing under outgoing president Ma Ying-jeou. Voters felt Mr Ma had moved too close to China, which still sees self-ruling Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification.
The former law professor who studied in the U.S takes over from outgoing Kuomintang (KMT, or Nationalist Party) President Ma Ying-jeou, who was ineligible for re-election after two four-year terms.
“At this moment, Taiwan’s situation is very difficult,” said Tsai in her inauguration speech. “I invite every fellow citizen to carry the future of this country.”
“Taiwan has been a model citizen in global civil society,” Tsai told the 20,000 capacity crowd, “Since our democratization, we have persisted in upholding the universal values of peace, freedom, democracy and human rights.”
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