China · Taiwan

Ma wins again in Taiwan

In Taiwan’s election on Saturday, incumbent Ma Ying-jeou won a second successive term as president, defeating Tsai Ing-wen by almost 800,000 votes whilst simultaneously coping easily with the threat of former KMT heavyweight James Soong, who did get over 300,000 votes. Ma’s margin of victory stunned the DPP which had predicted a close race. Basically Ma had a comfortable victory though with a few caveats. In any case, it was not a big surprise for me, as Taiwan has actually done quite well for the past few years, economically and politically. I’m not ignorant about the problems that exist, but given the economic mess that much of the world was in a few years ago and which Europe and the US are still in, Taiwan is quite fortunate. As I mentioned, the electoral period leading up to this election seemed pretty mellow and the DPP did not have any real issues to campaign on. The DPP tried to make growing ties with China a main issue on their platform, but can anybody name one major problem that has occurred in these past few years with increasing business, cultural, and tourism interactions with China? But anyways, the KMT can’t afford to get too carried away because their legislative fortune wasn’t as good. They still retained a majority of seats, but with 17 seats less than the last legislative election in 2008. The DPP picked up 13 more seats to give them 40 in total. The DPP’s Tsai, who was admittedly a reasonable candidate, stepped down as her party’s chair following her defeat. To its credit, China avoided any saber-rattling and ominous warnings, but as usual, no matter what China does, it seems like it’s still spotlighted in a critical manner.

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