Taiwan’s President Tsai to be inaugurated for second term

President Tsai Ing-wen will today be inaugurated for her second term in Taiwan’s highest office. Celebratory events and in-person participation

tsai ing wen

Photo: EPA-EFE

President Tsai Ing-wen will today be inaugurated for her second term in Taiwan’s highest office.

Celebratory events and in-person participation for the inauguration ceremony will be minimised due to COVID-19 related restrictions; the ceremony will be streamed live online.

Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party won a decisive victory over the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang opposition party in Taiwan’s January election—a victory widely viewed as approval of her insistence of Taiwan’s autonomy from China. Domestic sentiment regarding Taiwan’s two major political parties shifted dramatically late last year in response to the heavy-handed tactics employed by authorities against the Hong Kong protesters.

Tsai and the Taiwanese government are enjoying a lift in international recognition, owing to their effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tsai will likely try to leverage the government’s expertise on the virus and effective public health policy into near-term soft power gains. This is most clearly exemplified by renewed calls for Taiwan’s admittance into the World Health Organization, a long-desired goal for the island. Greater international legitimacy will further strengthen Tsai’s mandate to protect Taiwan’s interests from Chinese intimidation. However, with Sino-US relations at an all-time low and an increase in military posturing around the island, Tsai is likely to proceed cautiously.

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