Tsai Ing-wen (Chinese: 蔡英文; pinyin: Cài Yīngwén; born 31 August 1956) is a Taiwanese politician and academic incumbent as the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) since 2016. A member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai is the first female president of Taiwan. She has served as chair of the DPP since 2020, and previously from 2008 to 2012 and 2014 to 2018.
Tsai grew up in Taipei and studied law and international trade, and later became a law professor at Soochow University School of Law and National Chengchi University after earning an LLB from National Taiwan University and an LLM from Cornell Law School. She later studied law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, with her thesis titled “Unfair trade practices and safeguard actions”, and was awarded a Ph.D. in law from the University of London. In 1993, as an independent (without party affiliation), she was appointed to a series of governmental positions, including trade negotiator for WTO affairs, by the then ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) and was one of the chief drafters of the special state-to-state relations doctrine under the President Lee Teng-hui.
During the first term of Chen Shui-bian‘s presidency, Tsai served as Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council. She joined the DPP in 2004 and served briefly as a DPP-nominated at-large member of the Legislative Yuan, and was then appointed as Vice Premier under Premier Su Tseng-chang until the cabinet‘s mass resignation in 2007. Following the DPP’s defeat in the presidential election in 2008, she was elected as party chair of the DPP, but she resigned when the party lost the presidential election in 2012.
Tsai ran for New Taipei City mayorship in the 2010 municipal elections but was defeated by the KMT candidate, Eric Chu. In April 2011, Tsai became the first female nominated by a major party as a presidential candidate in the history of Taiwan after defeating her former superior, Su Tseng-chang, in the DPP’s primary by a slight margin. In the fifth presidential election in 2012, she was defeated by the then-president Ma Ying-jeou, but she won her first term of presidency in the 2016 presidential election by a landslide. In the 2020 election, she was re-elected as president with an increased share of the vote. Tsai is the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party, and the first president to have never held a prior elected executive post.