Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou should be in high spirits on the first anniversary of his taking office. He well knows the island's future lies in moving closer to the mainland, and can take credit for helping put that process on a sound footing through the nine agreements already signed with Beijing. With the global financial crisis biting ever deeper, the fruits of direct flights, investment, tourism and trade will go a long way to digging the economy out of the hole into which it has been plunged. But with domestic politics far from satisfactory, celebrations today will be less joyous than they should be. There are rifts within Mr Ma's ruling Kuomintang that he has been unable to mend. Some members object to his approach to mainland relations. Others dispute his refusal to resume the KMT chairmanship even though the allegations over misuse of public funding that caused him to step down in 2007 have been put behind him. The leadership that Taiwanese expect of their president would have been more apparent if he had complied with the demands. Nor have inroads been made on appeasing pro-independence supporters of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. Mr Ma is perhaps in a no-win situation in this regard. The wounds have been widened, though, through his predecessor Chen Shui-bian having been charged with corruption. No matter how much Mr Ma denies involvement, he will never be able to brush off accusations of being vengeful. And the KMT's reconciliation with Beijing has met with suspicion among DPP supporters. Mr Ma's presidency is outwardly good for Taiwan. In him, Beijing finds a reliable partner. Through growing links, the shrinking economy will be turned around. The island's attending this week's World Health Assembly as an observer opens an invaluable door that was previously firmly shut. Domestically, though, Mr Ma has much to do to prove he is a strong leader. Bringing Taiwanese together is fraught with challenges, but every effort has to be made so that the island can move forward smoothly. The step-by-step approach towards the mainland is a fine starting point. His taking back of the KMT chairmanship will, at the very least, boost his ability to push policies.