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Ma’s Edge Over Tsai in Taiwan Election ‘Very Thin,’ Cheng Says

Joseph Cheng, a political science professor at the City University of Hong Kong comments on the outlook for Taiwan presidential elections on Jan. 14.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is seeking a second four-year team against main opponent Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party.

On the election outcome:

“People seem to think the incumbent Ma Ying-jeou has an edge, but this edge is very, very thin at the moment.”

On the candidates:

Ma “is seen to be a very clean politician, which is important in Taiwan politics, but he is not believed to be very competent. Then you have the factors of the divisions over China policy; divisions between the north and south, as well as the widening of the gap between rich and poor.”

Tsai “lacks experience in actual campaigning.”

On the DPP’s stance on China relations:

“The party worries about being too close to China and wants to maintain a maximum degree of autonomy for Taiwan.

The DPP ‘‘understands that they can’t afford to provoke Beijing because the two economies are very integrated. They are all part of the international production chain, producing for the developed countries’ markets. The green camp would like to make the distinction it is keen to maintain a certain distance from the mainland.”

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