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Taiwan's Ma re-elected president

Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 01:44

Jan. 14 - The country's incumbent leader, a strong supporter of improving ties with China, fends off a challenge from pro-independence leader Tsai Ing-wen. Andrew Raven reports

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Even a fierce rainstorm can't dampen the spirits of Ma Ying-jeou. Taiwan's incumbent president was re-elected Saturday following what had been billed as one of the country's most important votes in years. Ma, a strong supporter of improving ties with China, fended off a strong challenge from rival Tsai Ing-wen, capturing about 52% of the vote. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) TAIWAN PRESIDENT MA YING-JEOU, SAYING: "In the next four years, cross-strait relations will be more peaceful, with greater mutual trust and the chance of conflict will be less. I must let Taiwan have a long-lasting environment of peace and stability. What do you think?" The vote had shaped up as a referendum on ties with China, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province. Ma's nationalist party pursued a détente with Beijing, while Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party favour independence. After the vote, Tsai took the blame for the defeat. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTY CHAIRWOMAN, TSAI ING-WEN SAYING: "As for the responsibility of the loss, I will be the sole bearer. I hereby announce I will quit the position as the party chief of Democratic Progressive Party. The next party chief will insist on DPP's reform and transformation. And lead everyone further on." Nearly 200,000 Taiwanese returned from overseas for the poll. In a measure of the easing ties with the mainland, most of them came over from China. Andrew Raven, Reuters

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Taiwan's Ma re-elected president

Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 01:44