Friday, May 20, 2016 5:31 am
Taiwan has sworn in its first female president.
Tsai Ing-wen, who was elected with a landslide in January took the oath today, ahead of a grand ceremony celebrating the island’s unique identity, likely to raise hackles in Beijing as ties with China rapidly cool.
Tsai’s victory ended outgoing president Ma Ying-jeou eight-year rapprochement with Beijing.
Voters felt Ma had moved too close to China, which still sees self-ruling Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification.
Beijing-sceptic Tsai swept in with a campaign to restore Taiwanese pride, a message that resonated with a public tired of living in China’s shadow.
As 20,000 invited guests and cheering members of the public watched outside the presidential office, Tsai raised her right arm as she read the oath in front of Taiwan’s national flag.
She received the seal of the Republic of China — Taiwan’s official name — and the presidential seal.
Tsai then accompanied Ma out of the presidential office as he shook hands with smiling staff and a brass marching band paraded.
“Tsai Ing-wen is the first woman president in Taiwan’s history so I want to witness this sacred moment,” said teacher Chen Su-mei, 48, who watched the swearing in on a big screen outside the presidential office.
“I hope she will bring more stability to Taiwan and revive our economy. We have high hopes for her.”
The Taiwan-centric inauguration celebrations will include 1,000 performers in a showcase of the island’s history and culture, entitled “Pride of Taiwan”.