President Ma Ying-jeouOn January 14, President Ma Ying-jeou (LL.M. ’76), the leader of Taiwan’s Kuomintang party, was elected for a second term. According to the New York Times, Ma won with 51.6 percent of the vote, defeating his nearest competitor, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, by a margin of 5 percent.

Following the election, the White House released a statement congratulating Ma on his victory. “In this year's elections, Taiwan has again demonstrated the strength and vitality of its democratic system. We are confident Taiwan will build on its many accomplishments, and we will continue to work together to advance our many common interests, including expanding trade and investment ties,” the statement said.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Taiwan, Ma first attended the National Taiwan University, then headed to America to continue his legal career at NYU Law and Harvard. Since becoming president, Ma has maintained ties with his American mentors. After his first presidential election in 2009, President Ma spoke with NYU Law Professor Jerome Cohen in an interview published in the Law School magazine. Describing his years as a student at NYU Law, Ma said, “My studies taught me about the ideas of constitutional democracy—freedom, human rights, and rule of law. Those are probably the most important that have influenced me in the days since I left the United States.”

More recently, following the Taiwanese presidential debates in December, Ma met with Cohen, who is also co-director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute, to discuss ties across the Taiwan Strait.

Posted January 17, 2012