Sun, Jul 17, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Ma gallops to victory over rival Wang

LANDSLIDE The triumphant Taipei mayor said he hoped to mend fences with his defeated rival and promised to get to work to help the pan-blues win the year-end polls

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AFP

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou bows in Taipei after winning the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship election yesterday. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng conceded defeat after being trounced by Ma.

PHOTO: AFP

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday won a landslide victory in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship election, garnering more than 72 percent of the vote.

His rival, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), had conceded defeat even before the tallies were finished.

"Candidate Ma Ying-jeou garnered 72.4 percent of vote share, or 375,056 votes, against Wang Jin-pyng's 27.6 percent, or 143,268 votes," KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) told a news conference late last night.

Even before all the ballots were counted, Ma held a press conference to declare his victory and promise to put his campaign promises into practice.

He vowed to continue reform efforts so the party could win the 2008 election, and he reiterated his opposition to both Taiwan independence and China's "one country, two systems" model of government used in Hong Kong and Macau.

Ma invited Wang to continue to serve as one of the party's five vice chairmen and he promised to create an honorary chairman position for outgoing Chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

"I'm well aware of Wang's advantages and will make good use of his experience and expertise to oversee the government and compete with it," Ma said.

"I cannot do it without him," Ma said.

He also expressed his wish to mend fences with Wang, saying that both should put things behind them and look ahead since the election is over.

Wang, however, was evasive about how he would respond to Ma's offer.

"I'm willing to follow Chairman Lien's footsteps to serve as a lifetime KMT volunteer," he said.

When asked whether he would help Ma once he takes office, Wang said that "there is no doubt that I will fully dedicate myself to the party."

While many party members have expressed a wish to see cooperation between Wang and Ma in the run-up to the 2008 election, Wang simply expressed his appreciation for their goodwill.

He also thanked Lien, who reportedly voted for him yesterday morning before leaving for Tokyo en route to Washington, where he is scheduled to deliver a speech at a leaders' meeting of the International Democrat Union.

Aided by the sunny weather, more than half a million party members nationwide cast ballots -- a turnout rate of 50.17 percent, while 12,093 members living overseas voted, for a turnout rate of 73.91 percent.

The turnout rates in the last KMT chairmanship election in 2001 was 57.89 percent domestically and 72.7 percent for overseas members.

Lien won with more than 97 percent of the votes in that poll.

Yesterday in Yunlin County, where 6,818 KMT members' right to vote was restored on Thursday, Ma won 14,824 ballots, or 60.75 percent of the county's total votes.

The Ma camp had claimed that there were about 8,000 party members in the country whose votes could be misused to support Wang.

The KMT also elected a total of 1,105 party delegates yesterday, including 985 regional, 90 overseas and 30 mainland representatives.

Delegates serve four-year terms that run concurrently with the chairman's term.

Among the victorious 985 regional delegates were family members of several senior party members, including Lien's son, Sean Lien (連勝文); Wu Po-hsiung's (吳伯雄) son, Wu Chih-kang (吳志剛); Ma's oldest sister Ma Yi-nan (馬以南) and Taipei Deputy Mayor Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川).

The party will hold a national congress on Aug. 19, during which Ma will take his oath of office and a total of 210 delegates will be elected to the Central Committee from 420 candidates.

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