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Taiwan leader's popularity rises after Typhoon Parma: poll

by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Oct 8, 2009
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's popularity has risen sharply, as more than half the people on the island supported the way his government handled Typhoon Parma, a survey showed Thursday.

Ma's approval rating climbed to 47.3 percent from a record low of 29.6 percent on August 19, less than two weeks after Typhoon Morakot lashed the island killing at least 619 people, according to a poll by the Taipei-based China Times daily.

Of the 1,016 people interviewed on Tuesday, 38.6 percent said they disapproved of Ma while the rest had no comment.

Nearly 58 percent said they were satisfied with the government's handling of Typhoon Parma against 25.3 percent who said they were not. The rest had no comment.

Parma skirted Taiwan earlier this week, claiming one life and causing minor damages in one eastern county. The government evacuated about 7,800 people from exposed parts of the island.

Ma, of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), who was elected president in March 2008, saw his popularity rise to an all-time high of 79 percent in the days after his victory at the polls.

His approval ratings have been sliding since then but took a severe hit after Typhoon Morakot, as public anger swelled over his government's slow response to the deadly typhoon.

Last month, Ma named a new premier and replaced key ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle as his government struggled to regain public support after Morakot.

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