Taiwan's Ma reelected ruling party chief

Taiwan's Ma reelected ruling party chief

TAIPEI - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou was overwhelmingly reelected chairman of the ruling party Saturday, amid corruption scandals involving top officials and public anger at his government.

Ma, the sole candidate in the election, took around 200,000 votes - over 90 percent of the total cast - a spokesman for the Kuomintang (KMT) party said.

The election was open to KMT party members throughout the country.

Ma vowed to reform the party when unveiling his candidacy last month in the wake of corruption cases implicating top party officials and his close aides.

The voting came as the KMT government faces mounting public anger over a fatal military abuse case and a controversial urban renewal project.

On Saturday, thousands of protesters demonstrated in Taipei to demand justice for a corporal who died after alleged abuse in the military.

Hung Chung-chiu died from heatstroke, apparently caused by being forced to exercise excessively.

While Ma was casting his ballot at a polling station in Taipei Saturday, protesters shouted outside to voice their anger at a construction project in central Taiwan, which will see homes torn down for redevelopment.

It followed incidents on Friday night where eggs were thrown at his campaign offices in two cities.

Ma became president in 2008 after winning a sweeping victory in the polls and was reelected for a second and final four-year term in January 2012.

However, his approval ratings took a severe hit later that year after a bribery scandal implicating top cabinet official Lin Yi-shih, formerly a KMT vice chairman and one of his key confidants.

Ma and the KMT suffered a further blow when another of his top aides, Lai Su-ju, was taken into custody in March 2013 on bribery charges.

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