Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou yesterday registered to run for chairman of the main opposition Kuomintang party in an election scheduled for July 16. The current KMT vice-chairman flexed his political muscle by submitting 82,000 signatures from party members in support of his campaign against legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, who is also expected to contest the post. The number of endorsements well exceeded the required 32,000 signatures, indicating a high level of support for the man known for his squeaky clean image and his insistence on a moderate road. 'I hope the election will be a gentlemen's race as we all are party colleagues ... I don't think we should go against this principle because we still need to co-operate after the election,' he said. Mr Wang, who remains on good terms with Mr Ma, has not yet registered for the race, but Taiwanese media reports say he is expected to do so today. Mr Ma is popular in northern Taiwan, but Mr Wang is popular in both the north and the south, ensuring that the election will be close.