Eric Chu, the Nationalist Party candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election conceded defeat late Saturday and congratulated rival Tsai Ing-wen to her victory as the new President, state-run Central News Agency reported.
Tsai Ing-wen is part of the pro-indepedent Taiwan DPP party.
Her supporters filled streets, waving party banners and cheering to victory announcements made from a stage.
The DPP has traditionally leaned in favor of independence for the island from mainland China, which could anger Beijing, which views Taiwan as an integral part of its territory that is to be taken by force if necessary. Beijing has missiles pointed at the island.
“I voted for DPP, because it’s very critical time for the Taiwan people. We have our own democracy systems, we will not be influenced by China,” said Tsai Cheng-an, a 55-year-old Taipei professor.
The KMT forged closer ties with China under President Ma Ying-jeou, which recently drew street protests. The new president will take over from Ma, who will step down on May 20 after serving two four-year terms.