Central News Agency
2008-05-20 10:30 AM
Ma, a former Taipei mayor became the sixth president of the Republic of China on Taiwan, ending eight years of rule by the two-term serving Chen Shui-bian.
In a solemn inauguration at the Presidential Office, Ma took the oath of office in front of Lai In-jaw, who was acting in his capacity as head of the Justices of the Constitutional Court, pledging to follow the country's constitution and to do his utmost to carry out his duties.
The inauguration, witnessed by his wife Chow Mei-ching as well as his predecessor Chen Shui-bian, and hundreds of foreign dignities and senior government officials, marks the return to power of Ma's party, the Kuomintang, after it was voted out in 2000.
Vice President-elect Vincent Siew was then sworn in through a procedure similar to Ma's.
After being sworn in, Ma was presented by Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng with seals of the country and the president in a symbolic gesture of his taking the helm of the country.
Ma then signed decrees to appoint his top executive and national security officials and his chief of staff, and immediately swore in Liu Chao-shiuan as premier, Su Chi as National Security Council secretary-general and Chan Chun-poh as Presidential Office secretary-general.
Liu in turn signed a decree appointing his Cabinet members, who were then sworn in en masse by the new president.
Ma is expected to deliver his inaugural speech at a ceremony marking his inauguration at the Taipei Arena at 11 a.m.
Ma won the March 22 election by a wide margin, partly due to widespread public dissatisfaction with Chen's hardline tactics against China during his rule.
Voters were also unhappy with the inability of Chen and his party, the DPP, to improve the economy, widely seen as having fallen behind its neighbors', with growth slowing and wages stagnating in the past eight years.
During campaigning and after the election, Ma has pledged to improve ties with China by allowing direct weekend charter flights as early as July, opening up the island to Chinese tourists and investment and lifting restrictions against Taiwanese investment in China.
In anticipation of closer trade exchanges with China, the local bourse has climbed steadily in the days leading up to Ma's inauguration, with the market's weighted index closing at a 2008 high of 9,295.20 on Monday.