Ma gets extra backing in final days
Incumbent president, Ma Ying-jeou has received important extra backing in the final days of the presidential campaign.
A number of big company bosses have backed the Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate against his main challenger Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The KMT candidate is part of the Pan Blue coalition which has promoted closer trade links with mainland China for which big business has benefited and is likely to benefit upon his election. Tsai Ing-wen, on the other hand, is part of the Pan Green coalition which favours Taiwan’s independence and, as a result, is viewed less favourably by the mainland Chinese government.
Ma has also received the backing of Fu Kun-chi, a close friend of James Soong, the presidential candidate of the People First Party and an important regional official. The move is significant because the policies of James Soong, a former Kuomintang secretary general overlap as does much of their support.
The endorsement of Fu Kun-chi will no doubt bring some relief to Ma, but the backing of the big business leaders could be a double edged sword because Tsai Ing-wen has been campaigning on closing the gap between the rich (big business leaders) and the poor (the largely rural communities).
Opinion polls suggest that the two candidates are within 3% points of each other, well within the margin of error for most polls.