TAIPEI: Presidential candidates in Taiwan kicked off their final day of campaigning Friday, with the island expected to vote in its first female leader in this weekend’s polls. Momentum is gathering across Taiwan ahead of the pivotal election Saturday in which voters are expected to turn their back on eight years of rapprochement with China, as skepticism over closer ties grows. The flagging economy is also a major issue, with the public blaming the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) for failing to improve livelihoods. Tens of thousands were expected at Friday night’s climactic rallies for the two main candidates, Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) — who is the frontrunner for the leadership — and the KMT’s Eric Chu. The DPP is traditionally pro-independence, flying in the face of Beijing’s desire to reunify Taiwan with the mainland.