Local elections in Taiwan on Saturday saw President Ma Ying-Jiu’s ruling Kuomintang party unexpectedly lose 5 out of 17 provincial mayoral seats, the Financial Times reported. Ma’s administration has been notable for its more pragmatic approach to dealings with the mainland, emphasizing the importance of economic ties, opening up important air and sea links, and easing restrictions on travel and investment across the Strait. Some observers hold that the recent KMT loss indicates Ma has moved too quickly for the voting populace and should reconsider measures including the upcoming discussions on the economic co-operation framework agreement. The Democratic People’s Party (DPP) views the KMT’s loss as their gain and evidence of their own comeback. Other observers point out that while the elections were on too local a level to indicate voter sentiment about the island’s relationship with mainland China, the KMT’s losses could actually benefit Ma when negotiating with Beijing: The mainland government would rather have him in power than another less co-operative president.