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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

Taiwan's Ma wins tight re-election race

By  Xing Zhigang and Tan Zongyang (China Daily)

09:33, January 15, 2012

BEIJING / FUZHOU - Incumbent Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou won a close re-election bid on Saturday, leveraging his message of greater prosperity through expanded ties with the Chinese mainland to beat his populist-minded opponent.

The elections had been expected to be tight, but the "Central Election Commission" said Ma and his running mate Wu Den-yih had garnered 51.6 percent of total votes, against 45.6 percent for Tsai Ing-wen and her running mate Su Jia-chyuan of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

A third candidate, James Soong, chairman of the People First Party and once a heavyweight with Ma's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, only managed 2.8 percent.

"We won!" Ma, 61, shouted to supporters at party headquarters as they cheered and clapped in the pouring rain.

"In the next four years, cross-Straits relations will be more peaceful, with greater mutual trust and the chance of conflict will be less."

"This is not my personal victory, the victory belongs to all Taiwan people," Ma told thousands of jubilant supporters in downtown Taipei. "They have told us we are on the right track."

The election revolved around Ma's claims that his signature policy of pushing for closer economic ties with the mainland's lucrative markets was good for the island's 23 million people.

During his 3-1/2 years in office, Ma lowered tensions across the 160-kilometer-wide Taiwan Straits to their lowest levels since the two sides split after a civil war in 1949.

Ma had advocated a series of bold commercial initiatives across the Straits.

Tsai's campaign emphasized bread-and-butter issues, and charged that Ma's policies had spawned growing income inequality and soaring urban housing prices that had pushed young middle-class and working-class people out of the market.

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Sam Teng at 2012-01-15175.136.180.*
Incumbent Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou's re-election victory on Saturday signifies the Taiwanese's support of his cross straits policy of greater prosperity through expanded ties with the Chinese mainland. This augurs well for the people on both sides of the straits; ensuring peace, greater stability and prosperity in the region. And this comes at the right time when all Chinese throughout the world will be welcoming the Lunar Year of the Dragon. We are all Chinese and descendants of the Dragon......let's work even harder for better prosperity for all.

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