The Nationalist Party candidate out-polled Frank Hsieh of the Democratic Progressive Party 58.45 percent to 41.55 percent, The New York Times reported. Ma succeeds fellow Nationalist Party member Chen Shui-bian, who stepped down after serving two four-year terms.
Hsieh had sought to pull support from Ma in the final days of the campaign by drawing attention to China's hold on Tibet, saying it could portend Taiwan's future. But Ma, a Harvard-educated lawyer, countered that closer economic relations would ease tensions between Taiwan and Beijing, the Times reported.
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