Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Litigious farce should end

Unsurprisingly, the High Court yesterday rejected the second lawsuit filed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to challenge the re-election of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) in March. However, this ruling is not really expected to make political waves in Taiwan.

The ruling on Lien and Soong's first lawsuit, in which the two sought to annul the presidential election itself, also rejected their claims. As Lien and Soong had immediately appealed against that ruling, it is expected that they will also lodge an appeal against the latest ruling.

The question that Lien and Soong must ask themselves is this: What is the purpose of clinging to their grudges and hatred left over from the presidential election by going through the motions of filing these appeals when they know perfectly well that they have no chance of winning? Is it to save face or give Lien a reason to hang on as KMT chairman?

The fact that the pan-blue camp barely managed to hold on to a legislative majority in the Dec. 11 elections has somewhat saved the pair from further disgrace -- although they had the pan-greens' obsession with vote-allocation to thank for that. Moreover, people had pretty much accepted the fact that Lien will exit and bow out only when and if he feels like it -- which may be never.

Now that the legislative elections are over, there is no need to worry about potential negative impact on voter support. What could be a better time to let the curtain fall on the soap opera surrounding the presidential election?

Except for a small number of conservative and radical pan-blue supporters, people have gotten so bored with these lawsuits, it would be extremely inhumane to force them to serve as spectators any longer. After more than seven months of litigation, with the KMT and the PFP unable to present a shred of credible evidence to prove any illegalities in the presidential election, and after a complete recount of all the ballots failed to reveal a significant discrepancy in the number of votes garnered by each side, it is time to end the farce.

Conceding defeat shouldn't be such a difficult thing. Just learn from Chen: After leading his party through a series of election wins since 2000, the failure of the pan-greens to garner a legislative majority must have been difficult to accept. Some people came to Chen's defense, arguing that the DPP did not really suffer a defeat, since it still holds more legislative seats than any other party and in fact garnered two additional seats. However, Chen has nevertheless candidly conceded defeat by taking responsibility for the pan-greens' failure to achieve a legislative majority. To demonstrate that he is not just engaging in empty rhetoric, Chen has resigned as Democratic Progressive Party chairman.

It is most unfortunate for Ukraine that, after the revote in the second round of its presidential election, the third round of voting this year, the defeated Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is still unwilling to concede defeat and that the controversies will continue to unsettle the country and challenge its political democracy. Hopefully the fate of Taiwan will be different -- if Lien and Soong can finally accept their defeat and move on.

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