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Biography of President-elect Ma Ying-jeou

ROC Central News Agency

2008-03-22 18:14:59

    Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Following is the biography of Ma Ying-jeou, from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), who won Saturday's presidential election in Taiwan, defeating the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's candidate Frank Hsieh.

    Ma Ying-jeou is one of the most important politicians in the Republic of China on Taiwan and a backbone member of the KMT, a political part that ruled Taiwan for over a half century until 2000 when it lost the presidential election to the Democratic Progressive Party.

    Ma was born on July 13, 1950 in Kowloon, Hong Kong, then a British colony, to parents from Xiangtan of Hunan province, China. His father Ma Ho-ling, who died in 2005 at the age of 85, was a KMT loyalist and once served as deputy head of the party's disciplinary department. As the only son in the family, Ma has four sisters.

    Ma was named after a pedigree of the Ma's clan. The word, "ying," means a rising talent in the language of Chinese, and "jeou" contains his parent's wish for him to build up character with morality.

    When Ma was 1 year old, his family moved to Taiwan. Since then he has lived in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, and in 1972 earned a law degree from National Taiwan University.

    In 1974, Ma won a KMT scholarship to study law in the United States, where he earned an LL.M. from New York University and then an S.J.D. degree from Harvard University.

    During his time at Harvard, Ma had worked for the Cole and Deitz law firm as an intern, and for the University of Maryland Law School as a research adviser.

    Ma returned to Taiwan in 1981. His first job as public servant was in the position of deputy director of the Presidential Office's first division, eventually becoming a personal translator of the then President Chiang Ching-kuo.

    Ma was later promoted to the chair of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission under the Executive Yuan in 1988. In 1991, he assumed office as deputy chairman and spokesman of the Mainland Affairs Council, and in the same year he was elected a representative of the KMT at the Republic of China's National Assembly.

    Ma was the KMT's deputy secretary-general from 1984 to 1988. In 1993, the then President Lee Teng-hui appointed him justice minister. He served in the post until 1996.

    Ma was elected Mayor of Taipei in 1998 and re-elected in 2002. He was elected KMT chairman on July 16, 2005, but announced his resignation on Feb. 13, 2007 after he was indicted by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office on charges of misuse of mayoral funds when he was Taipei's mayor.

    Ma was later found not guilty in the first and second trials, but the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. In May 2007, Ma was officially named the KMT's candidate for the 2008 Presidential Election held on March 22.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)

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