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Here were nearly 18 million Chinese people voting to choose their government on the basis of one man one vote.
Here were Chinese deciding which candidates and which party to support after a prolonged period of debating and campaigning.
This was not a reflection on his personal popularity but on the fact that many of his supporters were fearful that a vote for him could result in a victory for Tsai as happened when Soong split the KMT vote in 2000 and so handed victory to the DPP candidate Chen Shui-bian.
Likewise, the Taiwan Solidarity Union of ailing former president Lee Teng-hui received almost nine percent of the party vote though it won no constituencies.
This election also saw further evolution of the democratic process in Taiwan in an effort to make it more efficient.
The last election, in 2008, had seen the number of legislators reduced by half from 225 to 113 in an effort to make it less unwieldy and able to come to decisions more quickly.
More improvements Some commentators suggest that a further improvement in the electoral system would be a top two run-off vote for the presidency to ensure that the winner had more than 50 percent of the vote.The Taiwan example can only have heartened the many on the mainland looking pressing for more freedom of debate, more government accountability and some eventual prospect of the ending rule by one elite party controlling not just the levers of political power but economic and judicial power as well.Perhaps the fact that Beijing’s censors made scant effort to stop Internet coverage and debate was a sign that the CCP itself acknowledges the need for political evolution.Thus, even with an overwhelming KMT majority previously, the executive was unable to fully control the legislative agenda. Lingering problems Other lingering problems which democracy has not solved include corruption in some government institutions, including parts of the judiciary, and the power of the bureaucracy which sometimes still behaves as though it were the arm of a one party state.The DPP had many complaints of use of government money and facilities by the KMT, as well as the natural advantages of incumbency not to mention the bias of much of the media, the wealth of the KMT which still has a large stock of assets acquired when party and state were intertwined, and the influence of tycoons with big mainland interests who came under pressure from Beijing to speak up for the KMT. Although officially neutral, its offer during the campaign of visa free access for Taiwanese clearly benefited Ma and just before the election, the former head of the American Institute in Taiwan (the de facto embassy) Douglas Paal came out in open support of Ma.