Tue, Feb 15, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Soong draws top ticket lot

OFFICIAL DRAW The independent will be first on the ballot, but predictably, all five pairs said they were happy

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Five pairs of candidates drew lots yesterday at the Central Election Commission (CEC) to determine the order their names will appear on the ballots for the March 18 presidential election -- the last formal procedure before the official campaign period begins on Feb. 19.

All the presidential and vice-presidential candidates -- except the KMT's Lien Chan (連戰) -- were at the CEC for the draw.

The coveted number 1 position was drawn by independent candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) and his running mate Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄), who were also first to pick.

Soong immediately shouted his lucky slogan, "Taiwan is the first and we will lead in the forefront" (台灣第一,一馬當先).

DPP candidate Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and running mate Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were the second pair to draw and they pulled "5." "Five means that in the fifth month of the year [May] we will be the new presidential team," Chen said.

The third pair to draw was the KMT's Lien-Siew ticket, but only vice presidential hopeful Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and his wife Chu Chu-hsien (朱俶賢) were on hand. Siew picked "2," which he said would be the victory number.

"President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had this number in the presidential campaign four years ago," Siew said with smile.

New Party candidate Li Ao (李敖) and his running mate Feng Hu-hsiang (馮滬祥) drew the number "3," but not before Li complained that the election should be for the 15th presidential term of the ROC, not the 10th.

"According to the official history of the ROC, there were five other presidents, starting with Yuan Shih-kai (袁世凱)," Li said.

Feng criticized Lien's absence, saying he was showing his disrespect for the CEC and setting a bad example for democracy.

But Lien's spokesman dismissed Feng's criticism, saying the vice-president was with grassroot supporters in Taoyuan County.

There was no surprise about the number the last pair to draw received. Independent candidate Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) and running mate Chu Hui-liang (朱惠良) will be number "4" on the ballot. But they said four matched their "lucky slogan" of "Double Liang" (Liang is also `two' in Mandarin).

Following the draw the candidates made speeches to their supporters, declaring the start of their campaigns even though the official campaign period doesn't begin until 30 days before the election -- this Saturday.

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