Ma Ying-jeou - KMT Chairmanship, 2005–2007

KMT Chairmanship, 2005–2007

Main article: Kuomintang chairmanship election, 2005 See also: Republic of China local elections, 2005

Ma's prestige increased after the loss by Lien Chan in the 2004 ROC Presidential Election, as he is widely seen as the natural successor of Lien Chan. His handling of the post-election demonstrations of the Pan-Blue Coalition, in which he at one point sent riot police to control the demonstrations of his pan-blue party supporters, was generally seen as impartial. In 2005, Ma and Wang Jin-pyng were candidates in the first competitive election for KMT chairmanship. On 5 April 2005, in an exclusive interview with CTV talk show host Sisy Chen, Ma said he wished to lead the opposition Kuomintang with Wang, if he were elected its chairman, as their support bases are complementary. On July 16, 2005, Ma defeated Wang by a 72% to 28% margin, a margin larger than anticipated by either camp or news sources, despite Wang receiving a last-minute endorsement by the People First Party (PFP) chairman James Soong, who had retained significant following within the KMT. Some, particularly the supporters of Wang Jin-pyng, accuse Ma of unfairly implying that Wang is involved in "black gold" and criticized Ma's aides for being rude to Wang during the campaign. After the election, Ma had stated repeatedly that he wishes Wang to remain as first-ranked deputy chairman. Wang, however, has so far rebuffed the gesture, instead stating that he wishes to serve as a "permanent volunteer." Wang has, indeed, accepted a party post that is incompatible with vice chairmanship, effectively ending the possibility that he would be vice chairman, although after meeting with Wang, Ma had stated that he would "leave the position open" for Wang. Ma has also repeatedly stated that he had no plans to resign from the Taipei mayorship, even after he formally took over the chairmanship from incumbent Lien Chan during the 17th Party Congress of the KMT in August 2005.

Led by Ma Ying-jeou, the Kuomintang made a resounding win in the three-in-one election held on December 3, 2005. The KMT gained six more seats in the mayoral/magistratical race, from eight seats in the last election, to a total of fourteen seats. Before the election, Ma swore that he would quit the chairmanship if his party could not win over half of the seats, which was a first for a KMT chairman. It was a decisive win for Ma Ying-jeou as well, since he took over the party chairmanship only 110 days before. In the election, the KMT won back the counties of Taipei and Yilan, and the city of Chiayi, which had been the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s strongholds for over twenty years. It was the first time in many years that the KMT regained popularity as far south as Cho-Shui River (Zhuo-Shui River). Repeating his famous quote, Ma said, "we should only be excited about it for one evening."

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