Taiwan – President elected party leader, but approval ratings fall

President Ma Ying-Jeou of Taiwan was elected as the chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party on 26 July. Ma had already served as party leader from 2005-2007, but this was before his election and during the period when the KMT was in opposition.

According to Taiwan News, Ma’s decision to stand and the party’s decision to accept him – there was only one candidate for the position – was deliberately designed to reinforce the president’s position and to make it easier for him to pass the legislation he wishes. Another potential reason is that it facilitates the possibility of a meeting between himself and the Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. In other words, they could meet as party leaders rather than as heads of state. President Ma has tried to establish closer links between Taiwan (Republic of China) and China (People’s Republic of China).

President Ma was elected in March last year, winning 58% of the vote. However, his TVBS opinion poll approval ratings fell very quickly. See below. Source here.

In recent months his approval ratings had been improving. However, the devastating effect of the recent typhoon has led to another fall in his popularity. Taiwan News reports that the most recent TVBS poll puts his approval rating at only 16%.

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