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

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Sunday extended congratulations to Ma Ying-jeou, who was elected new chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party in Taiwan.

In the congratulatory message, Hu expressed his hope that the CPC and KMT and the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits will join hands and continue to promote the peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations, and work together to build a bright future of the Chinese nation.

Ma wins KMT chairmanship

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou
KMT, Taiwan's largest opposition party, chose Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou as its new leader Saturday, making him the strong favorite to challenge the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in the island's next "presidential election".

Ma, 55, comfortably overcame "legislative speaker" Wang Jyn-pyng, 64, to take over as head of the KMT from retiring Chairman Lien Chan.

Wang conceded defeat about 3 1/2 hours after the polls closed.

"Ma Ying-jeou won the leadership election," he said. "I have expressed my congratulations."

With more than 50 percent of the votes counted, Ma had an insurmountable 40 point lead, according to the Nationalists' official tally.

About 45 percent of the party's million members turned out for the vote, the first leadership election in its 110-year history.

On the basis of party precedent, the Harvard-educated Ma will almost certainly lead the KMT in the 2008 "presidential election".

"President" Chen Shui-bian of the DPP is serving his second term and is constitutionally barred from running again. Early favorites to succeed him include "Premier" Frank Hsieh and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang.
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