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Ma elected KMT chairman

July 27, 2009 at 12:35 AM   |   Comments

TAIPEI, Taiwan, July 27 (UPI) -- Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who has sought to improve relations with China since taking office, has been elected chairman of his ruling Kuomintang party.

Ma, the only candidate for the party post, won by a landslide 93.87 percent of the vote cast, the Taipei Times reported Monday. This is the second time he is held the office, the previous being in 2005.

Ma said the party would continue implementing the government's cross-strait policies with the mainland.

"The reason I ran for election was to shoulder responsibility, rather than expanding my powers or testing my popularity," Ma said.

However, Shih Cheng-feng at National Dong Hwa University told the Taipei Times Ma decided to run for party chairman to hold the KMT's power in check and centralize his authority so he can push through his policies and remove any hurdle when he seeks a second presidential term.

Wang Kun-yi at National Taiwan Ocean University said Ma's duel role as president and party chairman will give him absolute power over the party, the legislature, the military and cross-strait affairs.

The report said there has been speculation that as party leader, Ma now will be able to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao in Hu's capacity as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

Topics: Ma Ying-jeou
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