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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 12:17 GMT
Profile: Ma Ying-jeou
Ma Ying-jeou has survived a lengthy corruption trial to emerge as the winner in Taiwan's presidential elections.

Ma Ying-jeou, file image
Mr Ma was cleared of corruption in August last year

The US-educated lawyer, standing for the Kuomintang (KMT), served as minister for justice and minister without portfolio during the 1990s.

Analysts say he built himself a squeaky-clean reputation during that time.

He first showed potential to run for the top job by beating Chen Shui-ban, the island's current president, in the elections for Taipei mayor in 1998.

And in 2005, his place among the island's elite politicians was consolidated when he was chosen as chairman of the KMT.

But in late 2006 his political career - and his incorruptible image - appeared to have fallen apart.

Allegations emerged that he had misappropriated 11.2 million Taiwanese dollars ($339,000) of funds while mayor of Taipei.

Mr Ma quit as mayor, and then as party chairman, to fight the charges.

He spent much of early 2007 in court - but despite this, the KMT confirmed him as their presidential candidate.

Eventually the 57-year-old was cleared of all charges and launched his campaign for the presidency promising to restore the rapid economic growth Taiwan enjoyed during the 1980s and 90s.

He also wants closer ties with Beijing, and said he would open direct air and shipping links with China.

Father-of-two Mr Ma was born in Hong Kong and went to law school in Taiwan and the US.

He is said to be a fitness enthusiast and lists music, jogging and swimming as his hobbies.

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