Fri, Nov 05, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Losing without honor

It is difficult to think that many people believed the pan-blue camp had a realistic chance of overturning the result of the presidential election with its ridiculous lawsuit. After a long, seven-month wait, the Taiwan High Court has handed down its verdict, rejecting the claims of the pan-blue camp that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were elected illegally.

Ironically, across the Pacific, and only hours before this verdict was released, US Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry called incumbent President George W. Bush to concede defeat after an extremely close presidential race -- at the time there were 254 Electoral Votes to Bush and 252 to Kerry with Kerry trailing Bush in Ohio by a very narrow margin. For a moment, there were fears there would be a repeat of the fiasco four year ago, when Bush was effectively declared president by the Supreme Court. But Kerry had the decency to uphold the integrity of an admittedly flawed electoral system.

It is important to keep in mind that this US presidential election -- owing to a controversial war against Iraq and issues such as tax reform and gay marriage -- divided Americans in a manner no less painful than Taiwan's experience at our presidential election in March. But the American people and the presidential candidates kept their cool at the most crucial of moments and democracy prevailed.

This serves as a painful reminder of the night more than seven months ago when, immediately after the vote for the presidential race was announced, Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman and presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰) and his running mate, People's First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), not only refused to concede defeat but also accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of cheating and tampering with ballots, before filing an unprecedented lawsuit to overturn the result -- without substantial evidence to back their accusations. When asked about the resemblance between the situations faced by Kerry and Lien, Soong said yesterday that "so long as the truth is not out, there can be no mutual trust in society and there will always be polarization."

The problem with the pan-blue camp is that it is so blinded by its biases that "truth" has no value. But the truth of the matter is plain and simple -- they lost. The inability of the pan-blue camp to face up to this difficult reality took on greater meaning when, before the verdict had even been handed down, Lien said that Chen was a fraud and that aggrieved people were entitled to kill him. Other KMT members also accused the court of being unfair -- even though the court had said nothing! With this kind of behavior on show, it was already clear the pan-blue camp was never going to accept the verdict of the court. An appeal is pending.

If the KMT wishes to waste more of its ill-gotten assets on financing this frivolous lawsuit, then that's its business. However, there is cause for concern as to how pan-blue supporters will react to this verdict. In view of the irrational behavior of many of these supporters, for which we have only the inflammatory language of pan-blue politicians to thank, it is a justifiable concern. At times like this, one can only entreat these supporters to respect the judiciary and basic democratic values and refrain from further destructive behavior.

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