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Ma elected KMT new leader; Hu congratulates him
Updated: 2005-07-16 20:17

"Lawmaker" Wang Jin-pyng 
Ma, a former "justice minister", is a strong advocate of the KMT' policy of eventual unification across the Straits.

Throughout his campaign against Wang, he criticized the DPP's policies of strengthening Taiwan's status as a self-governing entity and underscoring the non-Chinese aspects of its culture and history.

Ma, handsome and charismatic, has long been groomed by party leaders to run for the power.

"Ma is the hope of our party," office worker Betty Sun said after casting her ballot on Saturday.

Born in Hong Kong to parents from the Chinese mainland, Ma fits firmly into the Nationalists' traditional mold as the party of the mainland elite, somewhat removed from the majority of the population which traces its roots to ethnic Chinese whose forbears migrated to Taiwan beginning in the 1600s.

Saturday's poll came less than three months after a groundbreaking visit to the mainland by Lien, who in the twilight of his career attempted to broker a meaningful reconciliation between the KMT and CPC.

Images of Lien being feted by President Hu Jintao and other senior Chinese officials raised expectations among many of 23 million Taiwan people that the time had come to find a way of finding solutions to peaceful unification.

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