Taiwan sets presidential, parliament polls for Jan 16 next year

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan will hold elections for its new president and national parliament on Jan. 16 next year, the island's election commission said on Tuesday.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, first elected in 2008, is completing his second, and final, four-year term. His ruling Nationalist party, also known as the Kuomintang, has yet to announce its presidential candidate.

Tsai Ing-wen, who leads the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, is expected to be the DPP's presidential contender.

The last time the pro-independence DPP won the presidency was in 2000, under Chen Shui-bian, who also governed for two terms.

Registration of candidates will kick off in September, the Central Election Commission said.

Taiwan is a thriving democracy and first held direct presidential elections in 1996.