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Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou and China's Xi Jinping to meet at last
Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou and China's Xi Jinping to meet at last
Xu Heqian

BEIJING — The setting is Singapore, where the two sides had a semi-official contact in 1992, giving the news a pleasant whiff of nostalgia. The summit on Saturday between Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan and Xi Jinping of China is historic indeed: It is the first meeting between leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait in the 66 years since the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

But context matters. The move comes just two-and-a-half months before Taiwan holds its presidential election. Two years ago Ma Ying-jeou expressed his wish to meet his counterpart from China. Yet his hopes of joining the informal APEC summit held in Beijing last September were dashed. Following that, Taiwan's local elections last year in 22 cities and counties led to a landslide win for Taiwan's main opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ma was thus obliged to step down as chairman of the nationalist Kuomintang party. Meanwhile, ahead of the Jan. 16 presidential election, the DPP candidate Tsai Ying-wen leads in the polls.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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