Sun, Sep 18, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Pan-blue's lose credibility -- again

On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) against a lower court ruling which had found that the Central Election Commission (CEC) did not violate any law during last year's presidential election and that the election was not unlawful. All possible appeals have now been exhausted in this lawsuit.

In another lawsuit filed by Lien and Soong against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) challenging the legality of their election win, the Supreme Court gave its final ruling back in June, rejecting an appeal filed by Lien and Soong. Therefore, the curtain has officially come down on all the disputes and controversies surrounding last year's presidential election.

These two lawsuits, the one against Chen and Lu and the one against the commission, were the first of their kind. Equally unprecedented was the amount of social resources diverted into these lawsuits, not to mention the level of social unrest and disturbance surrounding them. For example, the enormous cost incurred in conducting a total recount of the ballots cast in the election, a total of NT$60.10 million (US$1.8 million), was paid by the Taiwan High Court -- except for the NT$17.22 million paid by Lien and Soong -- meaning that the taxpayers picked up the tab.

Of course, Taiwan is a democratic country subject to the rule of law, so Lien and Soong had every legal right to file their lawsuits. On the other hand, these two men are not ordinary citizens; they are political leaders in whom the people have entrusted important powers. In this regard, they need to be politically accountable for every action they take -- including filing such unprecedented legal actions against the head of state and the CEC.

Unfortunately, both men have repaid the trust of the voters with utterly irresponsible behavior. The lawsuits were brought because these two leftovers from the days of martial law have a sense of entitlement. They simply could not believe -- or accept -- that it was possible to lose last year's election. In truth, they still haven't gotten over their individual losses in the 2000 presidential election.

Not one shred of credible evidence turned up in support of the government "conspiracies" or "cover-ups" they alleged about last year's election and the the election-eve assassination attempt on Chen and Lu -- now known to have been carried out by a Lien-Soong supporter -- while the alleged large-scale tampering with the ballots by the government turned out to be isolated, minor clerical and administrative errors by individuals.

Without an inkling of semi-credible proof supporting their allegations, how could they have decided to file these lawsuits? How could they destroy the sense of legitimacy in the entire constitutional process in the eyes of their supporters simply because the system failed to give the result they wanted? Their actions were irresponsible. In some countries such actions would have been seen criminal -- seditious libel. And all to prolong political careers which should have been over the day they lost last year's election.

Lien's career is over anyway, now that he has reluctantly stepped down as KMT chairman. As for Soong, his political influence has rapidly declined to the point that it could hardly be damaged any more.

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