Jan. 13 - Some 80,000 people gathered in support of ruling president Ma Ying-jeou ahead of Saturday's presidential election. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Hundreds of thousands of supporters gathered for the election campaigns on Friday (January 13) evening as the two major presidential candidates give a final boost of votes on the eve of Saturday's elections. On a stage by Taiwan's presidential palace, the incumbent president, Ma Ying-jeou, who is seeking a second term in office, faced a crowd of supporters estimated to be 80,000 strong. In his speech, Ma assured the voters that his government is uncorrupted and best able to promote a peaceful Cross-Strait development betwen Taiwan and China and maintaining a stable economy. Ma's supporter believes peaceful Cross-Strait relations could help improve the economy. Ma will square off against Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) and People First Party candidate James Soong in the fifth presidential election since Taiwan's transition to democracy from a martial law dictatorship. The first direct presidential election was held in 1996. Ma leads Tsai in most polls with Soong a distant third. In New Taipei City, the DPP estimated over 100,000 people gathered for Tsai on Friday evening. Tsai, who criticised Ma's policy in the past four years for only favoring big businesses and widened the rich-poor gap, urged the crowd to cast their vote and make changes happen. China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the Nationalists fled to the island in 1949 after losing control of the mainland in a civil war. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan back under its rule, by force if necessary. Polls will open from 0800 local time (0000GMT) on Saturday (January 14).