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Vote to ensure bright future for Taiwan

Today is an important day for Taiwan, where more than 18 million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots to select a new president and legislature that will set the course of the nation over the next four years.

Voters must go to the polls, no matter which candidate they support,since the elections will safeguard the people's rights as citizens of the country and will determine the fate of Taiwan.

Democracy in Taiwan, which has been a great achievement of the people, made on the back of their courage and sacrifice, is expected to move a step forward after the elections.

President Ma Ying-jeou of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), who is seeking a second term, was tied with Tsai Ing-wen of the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), according to the most recently released poll results Jan. 4, while James Soong,the presidential candidate of the minor opposition People First Party (PFP), was trying his best to win support.

As the three candidates are well-educated and have tremendous experience in the political arena, their talent and abilities are not dwarfed at all by the leaders in other democracies, while Tsai is the first female presidential candidate in the country's history, polishing the image of the DPP and helping the party earn support from female and swing voters.

In this presidential race, the partisan dogfighting between the China-friendly KMT and the pro-independence DPP has escalated. The two camps have almost equal support in the country, in particular after the DPP rose from its low ebb following a series of corruption scandals in the era of former President Chen Shui-bian.

That is the reality of Taiwanese society and this divided Taiwan is expected to continue and dominate elections in the future.

Cross-strait relations has remained a focus in the election campaigns with Ma advocating his party's "1992 consensus" -- described as a tacit understanding reached in 1992 that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means -- to forge closer ties with the mainland, while Tsai denies the existence of any such consensus.

This presidential election can serve as a referendum on Ma's China policy and could decide how Taiwan will deal with the mainland in the future.

The progress of Taiwan's democracy has drawn massive attention from China, Hong Kong and Macau, while many election observers from other countries and areas have arrived here to monitor the races.

When the election results come out, the candidates should stay rational and accept the outcome, accommodating the opposition,


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