In a battle with no competitors, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday won the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship election, obtaining 91.85 percent of the votes as he secured the chairmanship for another four years.
Ma received 202,750 of 220,746 votes, while turnout stood at 57.86 percent. While the percentage of the vote he received was lower than it had been in the 2009 election, in which he won 93.87 percent of the vote, the turnout in yesterday’s election was slightly higher than in the previous election, which was 56.95 percent.
Following threats from party members who are unhappy with Ma’s leadership to cast invalid ballots, there were 17,966 spoiled ballots in yesterday’s election, or 8.1 percent of votes. The invalid ballots in the 2009 chairmanship election accounted for 5.8 percent.
While overall turnout was better than expected, Ma showed no sign of relief when entering KMT headquarters in Taipei to thank election personnel.
In his victory speech, Ma vowed to enhance cooperation between the party and the government, cultivate talent and boost the party’s momentum for future elections.
“By doubling as KMT chairman I can fulfill my duty as the president more efficiently. We must push for close cooperation between the party and the government,” he said.
He brushed aside concerns about the rise in spoiled ballots in the election and stressed his loyalty and expectations for the KMT.
“[The election result] shows that the party is still united, and I am moved by the continuous support of party members,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) sent a congratulatory statement to Ma immediately after the election. When asked whether he would visit China and meet with Xi after his presidency ends in 2016, Ma said the two sides must create opportunities and conditions for such a meeting to happen.
Ma will formally be reconfirmed as KMT chairman at the party’s national congress on Sept. 29.
He served as KMT chairman from 2005 to 2007 but resigned after being indicted for alleged misuse of his special allowance fund as Taipei mayor. He was elected again in 2009.
Ma’s win yesterday failed to douse challenges over his leadership.
The party’s 567 Youth Alliance — formed by a group of young party members close to former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), son of former KMT vice president and chairman Lien Chan (連戰) — renewed its calls for the KMT to revise party regulations and make it mandatory for the term of party chairman to be consistent with the term of presidency.
The proposed regulation would force Ma to resign as party chairman when his presidency ends in 2016.
The alliance also demanded that Ma take full responsibility for the seven-in-one elections next year, and offer to step down if the party fares poorly in the elections, which will encompass polls for all directly elected local government positions from special municipality mayors and councilors to borough and village wardens.
Fears about protests against Ma prompted the Presidential Office to tighten security around KMT headquarters, screening everyone who entered the building.
Students opposed to the Miaoli County Government’s demolition of four houses in Dapu Borough (大埔) staged a small-scale protest yesterday while Ma was casting his ballot in Taipei’s Wenshan District (文山).