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Taiwan Election

March 23, 2008

Voters in Taiwan on 22-03-2008 elected the new president Ma Ying-jeou who had campaigned for closer economic relations with Beijing, paving the way for a considerable lessening of tensions in one of Asia’s oldest flash points.

Ma Ying-jeou, a Harvard-educated lawyer and former Taipei mayor from the Nationalist Party, won by a convincing margin.

Mr. Ma won 58.45 percent to 41.55 percent, and Mr. Hsieh quickly conceded defeat. Most voters echoed Mr. Ma’s stance that closer relations with the mainland and its fast-growing economy represented the island’s best hope of returning to the rapid economic growth it enjoyed until the late 1990s.

Many voters were convinced that Taiwan’s economic survival depended on closer ties.

“If we don’t get into China’s market, we are locked into our own country,” some voters said.

The inauguration, scheduled for May 20, Mr. Ma will have almost complete political power to pursue his agenda. His party and two tiny affiliated parties together took three-quarters of the legislature in January elections. Nationalists also serve as the magistrates, a position akin to mayor, in 15 of Taiwan’s 25 largest cities.

The extent of Nationalist control made some voters nervous on Saturday.

Two controversial referendums, calling for Taiwan to apply for membership in the UN also fell well short of passage.

Taiwan’s economy grew 5.7 percent last year, but middle-class and working-class incomes have stagnated as an affluent elite has grown prosperous, often from investments on the mainland.

Much of the island’s manufacturing industry has shifted to the mainland, and hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese have moved there to manage these operations. Most of them are men aged 25 to 45, leaving a dearth of skills and entrepreneurial energy in Taiwan itself.

Few months before Presidential election, Mr. Ma visited Singapore to have a first-hand knowledges how the country run. Most voters like his unique image, clean, trustworthy,etc. He wants to eradicate corruption.

China never interfered or commented about Taiwan election before 22-03-2008, was the plus sign for Mr. Ma, unlike year 2004.

Although Mr. Ma was borned in China but voters were mature, they accepted him and expressed ” time to change ”

We hope Taiwan and China can have better relationship from now on.

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