Sat, Jul 24, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Put the election dispute to rest

It has been over four months since the presidential election. But it's irritating that Taiwan's society is still in the shadow of the election dispute. Although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) took office on May 20 and have started to perform their duties in accordance with the law, the opposition fought stubbornly against them in continuous protests.

The shooting of the president and vice president on the eve of the election caused an uproar in this country. In response to the matter, independent Legislator Sisy Chen (陳文茜) announced on Thursday that she would establish a group called the "Plaza" by late next month, to train talent to look into the case, and to participate in the related lawsuits. But even the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has kept its distance from her this time, as everyone knows by now that Sisy is not an asset to the pan-blue camp. Rather, her latest scheme is aimed at boosting the momentum of the newly established Taiwan Democratic School as the year-end legislative elections approach so it can attempt to absorb pan-blue votes.

The shooting has even caused an uproar abroad. The pan-blue camp produced and distributed a pamphlet entitled Bulletgate to make baseless accusations against the government and its handling of the case. Unfortunately, the pan-blue camp does not trust the investigation in its current form, or the legal system in charge of the ballot recount. Bulletgate will not help us to discover the truth or solve the election dispute. It will only damage Taiwan's international image. As for the dispute over the election result, after the ballot recount by lawyers from both sides under the supervision of the Taiwan High Court is completed, we must await the court's final ruling. But the pan-blue camp's legal team called a press conference on Thursday, claiming that a total of 907,164 electoral irregularities were discovered during the examination of voter rosters nationwide, and that such irregularities took place in 99.34 percent of the polling stations.

These figures released by the blue camp are shocking, but prior to their release, there had been no debate on the findings and the judges have yet to make their ruling. It was little more than a unilateral declaration by the pan-blue camp's lawyers. And there are other facts in these figures. First, the recount could change the election outcome by 7,655 votes -- so even if all these votes were for the pan-blue ticket, it is still far too few to overturn the election. At this point, they have no hope of overturning the legitimacy of Chen's re-election.

The pan-blue lawyers have also emphasized irregularities in the voter rosters, which is an attempt to pave the way for further litigation to nullify the election result. Even though the Taiwan High Court has not yet begun to hear the case, the pan-blues are already preparing a second legal battle.

In their endless resistance, one cannot help but admire the persistence of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜). Even people within the KMT are getting tired of this obstinate struggle, which is blocking the way to internal party reforms. Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and KMT Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) have both made a point of distancing themselves from the election controversy, so it is hardly surprising that the majority of voters are fed up with this endless controversy.

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