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.