Ma Ying-jeou vows to mend fences with opponent in a bid to reunite party Kuomintang chairman-elect Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said he would do all he could to mend fences with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng in a bid to unite the party. 'I will extend my utmost sincerity to settle the so-called 'Wang-Ma grudges' and to win his co-operation to run the party,' said Mr Ma, a day after he won the chairmanship of the KMT in a landslide victory over Mr Wang. The Taipei mayor described Mr Wang as an outstanding statesman who cared about the party. He said he would make use of every opportunity to meet Mr Wang in order to seek his co-operation. Mr Ma, 55, has to deal with party strife after winning its chairmanship by a wide margin. He gained 72.4 per cent of the 500,000 votes, while his 64-year-old opponent captured just over 27 per cent. A frustrated Mr Wang, already feeling wronged by vote-buying allegations levelled by Mr Ma's camp, embarrassed the mayor by ignoring him and driving off in a hurry when Mr Ma came to see him after preliminary election results. Equally embarrassing was the speaker's apparent snub of an offer by Mr Ma for him to be his first vice-chairman and jointly run the party. 'I will follow the footsteps of [outgoing] KMT chairman Lien Chan to serve as a lifetime volunteer worker for the party,' Mr Wang said at a news conference on Saturday night to concede defeat. Reconciliation between Mr Ma and Mr Wang, who has strong links with political factions across the island, is a must if the KMT chairman-elect hopes to keep the party intact. Political commentator Tsai Shih-ping said Mr Ma needs Mr Wang in the legislature to take care of KMT interests. More importantly, he needs his help in future elections, including the year-end magistrate elections and the presidential polls in 2008. Hong Kong-born Mr Ma, known as a mainlander in Taiwan, also needs to take care of the 'Taiwan identity' issue if he wants to improve the party's chances in the year-end polls and the presidential polls in 2008. Although his mainlander status was not an obstacle for him during the KMT elections, when it comes to government elections, it would be a problem, analysts said. Mr Ma also faces the tough task of reuniting the so-called pan-Blue camp, which includes the pro-unification People First Party and New Party. People First Party vice-chairman Chang Chao-hsiung, whose party campaigned for Mr Wang in the KMT race, said Mr Ma lacked the wisdom to prevent any party rift and had engaged in negative campaigning. Observers said Mr Chang's comment indicated that Mr Ma would have a tough time dealing with the People First Party, which he needs to win over to pave the way for the integration of the pan-Blue camp.