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Polls close in parliamentary elections

world Updated: Jan 12, 2008 16:37 IST

AFP
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Voting ended on Saturday in Taiwan in legislative elections seen as a crucial indicator of popular sentiment ahead of March polls to pick a successor to independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian.

More than 17 million people were eligible to cast ballots for the island's 113-seat parliament, which is half the size of the current body in accordance with a law passed in 2004 aimed at improving legislative efficiency.

Election commission chief Chang Chen-hsiung said official results were to be announced at about 10:30 pm (1430 GMT). Exit polls are not allowed in Taiwan.

Taiwan's stumbling tech-heavy economy and the tense relationship with China have emerged as the cornerstone issues in the race for the legislature as well as the campaign to succeed Chen.

The nationalist Kuomintang (KMT), which had a comfortable lead over Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in final opinion polls released late last month, currently has a slim majority in parliament with its smaller allies.