Tsai Ing-wen (born 31 August 1956) is a Taiwanese politician and academic serving as the seventh 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 Kuomintang (KMT) and was one of the chief drafters of the special state-to-state relations doctrine of President Lee Teng-hui.
After DPP President Chen Shui-bian took office in 2000, Tsai served as Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council throughout Chen's first term as a non-partisan. She joined the DPP in 2004 and served briefly as a DPP-nominated at-large member of the Legislative Yuan. From there, she was appointed Vice Premier under Premier Su Tseng-chang until the cabinet's mass resignation in 2007. She was elected and assumed DPP leadership in 2008, following her party's defeat in the 2008 presidential election. She resigned as chair after losing the 2012 presidential election.
Tsai ran for New Taipei City mayorship in the November 2010 municipal elections but was defeated by another former vice premier, Eric Chu (KMT). In April 2011, Tsai became the first female presidential candidate of a major party in the history of the Republic of China after defeating her former superior, Su Tseng-chang, in the DPP's primary by a slight margin. She was defeated by incumbent Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou in the fifth direct presidential election in 2012, but was elected in a landslide four years later in the sixth direct presidential election in 2016. Tsai is the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party. She is the first president to have never held a prior elected executive post and the first to be popularly elected without having previously served as the mayor of Taipei. She was re-elected with an increased share of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.