On January 14th Taiwan will be choosing their president as incumbent Ma Ying-Jeou attempts to hold of challenger Tsai Ing-wen. After the break is a brief profile of the candidates and a preview of the 5th democratic election in Taiwan's history.
Running Mate: Wu Den-yih
Background: Born in Hong Kong, Mr. Ma has been president of Taiwan since 2008. He has served as Justice Minister (1993-1996), Mayor of Taipei (1998-2006), and as chairman of the KMT (2005-2007)
Party: Democratic Progressive
Running Mate: Su Jia-chyuanBackground: Ms. Tsai is the current chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party. She has degrees from the National University of Taiwan, Cornell University, and London School of Economics. She is the first female presidential candidate in Taiwan history.
Relationship with the Mainland
Mr. Ma signed an investment deal with China in 2010 that he says will create jobs and spur growth by attracting Chinese investment. Thus far, this deal has yet to bring material Chinese investment and tourism to Taiwan. Ms. Tsai has criticized Mr. Ma for promoting such a relationship with China. This position has won her support among the middle and low income workers.
Mr. Ma also must overcome growing dissent at the widening wealth gap in Taiwan. Low income workers accuse new trade deals with China of disproportionally helping the rich.
This election is likely to go down to the wire. A January 2nd opinion poll conducted by the China Times reveals a slim lead for Mr. Ma as he received 43% of the vote compared with 38% for Ms. Tsai.
WSJ: China Looms Over Coming Taiwan Election
Bloomberg: Ma's Edge Very Thin
Republic of China presidential election, 2012
2012 Political Events:
Taiwan Presidential Election January 2012
Russia Presidential Election March 2012
S. Korea Parliamentary Election April 2012
France Presidential Election April/ May 2012
Hong Kong Legislative Election September 2012
China Leadership Transition October 2012
U.S. Presidential Election November 2012