Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's official: Ma vs. Tsai in Taiwan's 2012 presidential election

l  The stage is set as President Ma Ying-jeou and DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen received nominations from their respective political party last week.

l  We believe that: (1) the race will be tight, and barring something unforeseen, the final margin should be less than five percentage points, (2) though ideology will invariably play a part, major campaign issues will be on the economy, the widening wealth gap and “quality of life” issues, and (3) the voter turnout should go above 75%.

l  With job-approval ratings hovering around 30%, Ma will have to respond to questions related to competence. Tsai, on the other hand, has to ease anxiety over her judgment and the DPP’s ability to govern.
l  Both will move to the center on policies ranging from cross-Strait relations to alternative energy. The 1.2 million first-time voters could well determine the election outcome.

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