Saturday, 14 January 2012

Four More Years

It's not even midnight here and since ballot counting began around 8pm for the Taiwan elections, and challenger Tsai Ing-wen has already admitted defeat.

With over 90 percent of the ballots counted, incumbent Ma Ying-jeou has 51 percent, Tsai 46.3 percent. The third candidate James Soong, a former senior figure in Ma's party, Kuomintang was dead last with only 2.7 percent.

Tsai, the first female presidential candidate, already resigned as chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

It seems there's still a lot of political baggage around the DPP with the dramatic rise and fall of former president Chen Shui-bian who is serving a life sentence for corruption and embezzlement along with other members of his family. Just before the election he was allowed out of prison briefly to attend his mother-in-law's funeral which may have adversely affected the DPP.

As his supporters stood in the pouring rain, Ma said: "This isn't a personal victory, this is a victory for the people of Taiwan. Through this victory, the people have given me a sign to continue with my policies." He also thanked his wife for her endless support to which she bowed many times and he hugged her.

Nevertheless, it looks like another four years with Ma will hardly be stellar as his first term's legacy was the major defrosting of ties between Taiwan and the mainland. However for some Taiwanese the relations between the two seemed to quick and the flood of mainlanders visiting the island that China regards as a "renegade province" have made locals wonder what they've gotten themselves into.

Like Hong Kong, mainland tourists have buoyed the economy, but surely more should be done domestically to stimulate growth.

In any event, Beijing will be breathing a huge sigh of relief and perhaps plotting its next step in getting Taiwan to politically come back to the mainland.

Some Taiwanese think as mainland Chinese watch this election, they will have a greater understanding of what democracy is about.

It's an interesting perspective and we shall have to see how both sides continue this delicate dance of economic benefits and political ideology.

1 comment:

  1. the taiwan election is a landmark milestone of chinese history in democracy. ma deserves the win. tsai deserves the applause of a courageous and graceful loser.