‘Horse eats Grass’ (馬吃蔡): Ma gets re-elected

President Ma Ying-jeou declared victory at 8:12 p.m.
POLITICS / The Wild East

As W.E. predicted, KMT President Ma Ying-jeou won a fairly close election against DPP challenger Tsai Ing-wen. With a 74% turnout rate, Ma won with about 780,000 votes, or 4-5 percent over Tsai, 51.5% to her 45.6%. In Tsai’s concession speech, she resigned as DPP chair to take responsibility for her party’s defeat; supporters could be seen at the rally crying in frustration.

Ma, in an acceptance speech delivered in the drizzling rain, thanked his wife Chow Mei-ching for always challenging him, and Taiwan voters, adding that his administration would meet with other parties every six months. Although there were several running, Green Party candidates garnered too few votes to even show up in initial media reports.

Why wasn’t the election closer, is one interesting question. As it turns out People First Party candidate James Soong captured less of the vote (less than 3%) than the expected 4-5% he was polling at before. Perhaps these Soong voters ended up voting for Ma after all. Former (DPP) Vice President Annette Lu opined that pre-election polls had not taken into account the 200,000 or so Taiwanese factory owners in China who flew back to Taiwan to vote in the election.

In the legislature, the KMT won 64 out of 113 seats in the Legislative Yuan, versus 40 for the DPP, retaining its majority.

According to the Financial Times:

Ma described his victory as “a vote for clean government, peace, and prosperity for Taiwan.”

“You have told me, in the clearest voice possible, to continue on my current path,” he added.

Mr Ma’s victory will probably be welcomed by Beijing and Washington because he has promised to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. During his first term in office, Mr Ma engineered a dramatic turnround in relations and greatly reduced tension with China.

4 thoughts on “‘Horse eats Grass’ (馬吃蔡): Ma gets re-elected

  • January 16, 2012 at 6:08 am

    International Committee on Fair Elections in Taiwan

    Press Release
    January 13, 2012

    Head of International Election Observation Mission
    Expresses Concern at Remarks by Former US Official

    In an interview with a Taiwanese television station on January 12, Douglas Paal, a former Taipei director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), made several comments about Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s policies towards China, including describing her “Taiwan consensus” proposal as impractical.

    In a press conference today, former US Senator and former Governor of Alaska Frank Murkowski, currently in Taiwan as head of the election observation delegation organized by the International Committee for Free Elections in Taiwan (ICFET), stated that the remarks made by Paal were “inappropriate to say the least.” Senator Murkowski also telephoned current AIT Taipei Director William Stanton to convey his personal concern. At the press conference, he said, “I challenge the credibility of Mr. Paal to speak for me or my government, or for the vast majority of Americans.”

    Accompanied by ICFET Chairman Peng Ming-Min and Vice Chairman Wu Li-Pei, Senator Murkowski criticized Paal for coming to Taiwan at the invitation of a KMT-affiliated institute to “observe” the elections and making such comments. He particularly said Paal’s assertion that the opinion leaked to the Financial Times last fall was the “private feeling of senior administration officials generally” is “inappropriate editorializing to say the least.” Senator Murkowski noted that Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell had already clearly denied the Financial Times report.

    Senator Murkowski said that, this morning when he read the reports in the Taipei Times and China Post about Paal’s remarks, he was concerned that this would be misinterpreted as reflecting US policy. He stated, “I take strong issue any inference that US policy towards Taiwan favors any candidate or party over the others. AIT Director Stanton, with whom I talked today, has made the AIT’s position clear that the US remains strictly neutral.”

    Senator Murkowski concluded, “I speak today solely as a private US citizen, but based on my experience off 22 years in the US Senate and as former Governor of Alaska, I challenge the credibility of Mr. Paal to speak for me or my government, or for the vast majority of Americans who have great admiration for the progress Taiwan has made in advancing its democracy. This election is about the people of Taiwan making a choice of parties or candidates free of any undue influence. It is about the choice between change and the status quo. That is a choice for the people of Taiwan. Whatever they decide, we wish them well.”

    ICFET was initiated by former Presidential Advisor Dr. Peng Ming-Min, and members of the Committee include current and former MPs from Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the US, as well as scholars and experts from around the world. ICFET organized a 24-member international observation mission to come to Taiwan for these elections, led by Senator Murkowski. The mission visited campaign headquarters and observed campaign activities from all three major parties in northern, central, and southern Taiwan.

    On Sunday, January 15, at 10:45 am, the mission will hold a press conference at the Howard Plaza Hotel to announce its preliminary findings.

    For further information about ICFET and these elections:

  • January 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen









    For today the 2012 presidential election results, we recognize the electoral defeat, and is willing to accept Taiwan people did decide this election, and to you by the deepest apology. We congratulate President Ma.

    Hope he’s in the next four years, to listen to the voice of the people, power, taking care of everyone to be fair to the people, do not let people look forward to. I know everyone’s mood at the moment. Today, I believe that many people expected victory, however, the reality is not satisfactory. However, we must be strong, we must be stronger than anyone. We are a Democratic Progressive Party, when we are faced with the setback in the past, we’ve never fallen before.

    Not before, this one was definitely not.

    Four years ago, we used to be so desperate, but we bite his teeth, the entire party together, during these four years, step by step ahead. Such results are regrettable, but we’re not nothing at all: our insistence on small donations and established a new political paradigm.

    Our policy, Taiwan’s future development, continues to play a key strength. Although there is no way to power our future, to practice ideal; but it doesn’t mean there would be no opposition forces. Taiwan cannot be no dissenting voices, without checks and balances of power. I believe that as long as we continue to stand behind us, give us support, give us encouragement, we must also have a future!

    Next, we will be able to walk the last mile road! Transformation of the Democratic Progressive Party with the reform, will not be stopped. We adhere to the vulnerable people and stand together, we adhere to the policy reason, we adhere to the micro-donations out of their dependence on Consortium. We will carry on, one day, we will win the majority of the people’s trust, it’s way more than we think long, we could have done better.

    Facing today’s results, the DPP will carefully review and will use it as a guard. Responsibility for electoral defeat, by my shoulder up. I announced his resignation as Chairman of the Party of the Democratic Progressive Party.

    I believe that the next President of the party, will persist, continue to uphold the Democratic Progressive Party reform in transition, you keep going. Finally, Tsai Ying-Wen thank you all the way.

    This four-year journey is great, we fought together, in my heart, you who are not just vote for me, you are my best friend. Tonight, I think we were very disappointed. You can cry, but don’t lose heart. You can be sad, but don’t give up. We want to be like the past four years as brave and full of hope. Because we must be brave to carry the responsibility, we must continue to Taiwan this land is out.

    Regardless of what position we, in this country, we need to continue to love her and protect her. Dear Taiwan people, and one day we will come back again. This day in 2012, support the DPP, supported Tsai, I believe it is a matter of pride. We looked up and strong and brave going down. Thank you, my heart will always be with the Taiwan people to stand together. (Translated by Bing)

  • January 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Another local paper’s take on the story:

    Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou declares victory in 2012 presidential election
    Tsai Ing-wen offers resignation as DPP chairwoman
    Taiwan News, Staff Writer
    2012-01-14 08:15 PM

    TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou declared victory at 8:12 p.m. Saturday in his search for a second and final term as television stations reported he received more than half the votes.
    If the Central Election Commission confirms the result, it means Ma overcame a strong challenge from opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen despite widespread disaffection with his handling of the economy and his rapid rapprochement with China. The candidacy of People First Party Chairman James Soong was also expected to draw votes away from Ma.

    Taiwan’s television stations said Ma won about 6.88 million votes or 51.6 percent, with Tsai receiving about 6.08 million votes or 45.6 percent and Soong 369,000 votes or 2.8 percent. All figures still had to be confirmed by the CEC.

    Opinion polls in the months leading up to polling day had shown Ma and Tsai neck-and-neck, with Soong averaging about 10 percent. In 2008, Ma defeated the DPP’s Frank Hsieh by 58 percent to 41 percent.

    During the afternoon, results broadcast by television stations initially showed a lead for Tsai, but once Ma forged ahead, the percentages stayed

    Preliminary results from TV stations showed a clear chasm between Northern and Southern Taiwan. In the North, Tsai only won Ilan County, while in the South she reportedly came first in Kaohsiung, Tainan, Pingtung, Yunlin, Chiayi County and Chiayi City.

    Ma appeared at his election headquarters in Taipei City at 20:12 p.m. to declare victory in front of a throng of enthusiastic supporters shouting “Ma Ying-jeou, I love you” in the pouring rain. “This is not Ma Ying-jeou’s victory, this is the victory of the Taiwanese people,” he said.

    The president interpreted his apparent victory as encouragement to continue on the path he began.

    Relations with “China will be even more harmonious, we need sustainable peaceful environment,” he said.

    Turning to the opposition, he said he had heard their criticisms and would evaluate their ideas despite their different angle. He said he would invite the opposition leaders once every six months and evaluate which of their policies he could apply. Each month he would also sit down with social groups, he said.

    Ma also promised an expansion of international activities and ended his speech with thanks to prominent KMT leaders and to his wife.

    Minutes later, Tsai accepted her defeat and told an international news conference that her campaign had lacked resources. She offered her resignation as chairwoman of the DPP to take responsibility.

    During a campaign dominated by economic and social issues, Ma faced blame for high unemployment, the widening gap between rich and poor, and waste of public money on prestige projects. The DPP said he was sacrificing Taiwan’s sovereignty for the sake of better relations with China.

    Ma, who is also chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, said he could promise more stability during the next four years, more economic development and the continued improvement of links with Beijing. During his first term, the Ma administration signed a ream of agreements with China, including a contested Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement.

  • January 14, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Ma’s speech (see below for Bing translation): 中華民國總統馬英九(Republic Of China,Taiwan President Ma Ying Jeou)
    Congratulations to you, we won! This is not emphasising the person’s victory, but Taiwan a victory for the people, is a pursuit of clean, prosperous, and peaceful Taiwan the road victory. Taiwan people gave me a clear message and asked me to continue in such a route stick; Taiwan people also gave me a clear mission, I am trying to complete the create Taiwan new history needed reform.
    I’m here to thank you for giving my support, I also promised, the next four years, I will go all out and will not live up to all of my expectations!
    This, we obtained re-election, most main of causes, is people certainly has we put an end to corruption rot, and adhere to clean of efforts; certainly has we open managed to, revitalization economic of efforts; certainly has we shelved dispute, pursuit strait peace, to crisis became turn of efforts; certainly has we decent effective of means diplomatic, won international social of certainly and support, let Taiwan people can from visa traveling world. But it’s got more ardent expectations, people want us to take care of the disadvantaged groups in addition to the justice to assign greater importance to, efforts to shorten the gap, more attention to youth employment and opportunities to achieve their dreams, more attention to conservation and sustainable management of fisheries; to focus more on the people feel about the Government.
    I assure, will try to be, not up to the target and never stopped.
    This time, we won, but just as four years ago, everybody happy night like a. During the campaign, Ying-jeou President and James Soong, Chairman of the opportunity to hear Tsai Ing-wen comments, their point of looking at things, perhaps, and I do not like, however, concerned about Taiwan’s intentions, but it is consistent, I would like to deeply thank them. In the electoral process, they have made many suggestions, give me a lot of reviews of reflection space, I will seriously, carefully evaluated, as long as the Taiwan people’s favourable opinion, I have adopted.
    The future, at least every six months, Ying-jeou will be invited to meet ruling and opposition party leaders, consensus on important topics together for the Taiwan Golden Decade to work hand in hand.
    In this election, I passed through Taiwan, constantly listen to and reflect on, in the midst of a four-year ruling, what were people, people of which gross negligence is blamed, which has been misunderstood, which should be strengthened, I have in mind, modest Amendment. I won re-election at this moment, I pledge to you: the next four years, Taiwan’s vulnerable populations will receive more care; the next four years, Taiwan economic structural reform, there will be a broad space for development; the next four years, cross-strait relations are more harmonious, more mutual trust, minimizing the chance of misunderstanding conflict. The next four years, Taiwan people will have more opportunities to participate in international affairs can be more convenient and more dignified, admit of the world, broaden their horizons, communication culture, explore business opportunities. The next four years, I’ll bold reform, Taiwan transformed into Taiwan long-term peace and stability, justice and sustainable development, and lay a solid foundation. I to defend the sovereignty of the Republic of China, Taiwan security, and the Taiwan people’s dignity.
    This is me on the Taiwan people’s most solemn commitments.
    In this case, Ying-jeou to Xie Xiexiao Vice President support phase all the way, often at a critical time, raised key strategies, let us ride out the storm.
    I would also like to thank President Wu Den-yih accept my trust, shoulder the heavy task of Premier, and successful treatment of the post-disaster reconstruction, outbreak control and recovery, and fought side by side with me in the next four years.
    I would also like to thank you for even the President of the Honorary President, Honorary Chairman Wu, Wang Jinping and all help me, support me, encourage me, wrap my elders, advanced and partners within the party.
    I would also like to thank my family, thank you Mei Tsing, she has been my biggest support in politics, as well as “eternal opposition”, is always strictly supervise me, make most incisive criticism and suggestions.
    I would also like to thank my colleagues worked hard for the ruling team, as well as hard around election partners, there are thousands of passionate, selfless dedication of volunteers and friends. In conclusion, I once again, thank you to vote for my friends, thank you firmly believe in me, give me the warm support.
    Gives me the opportunity for the entire Taiwan people, then four years of service. Next week is the Chinese new year! I wish you, the Dragon games, Taiwan peace and happiness, the Republic of China perspective changlong! (Translated by Bing)


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