Sat, Mar 27, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Chen declared winner despite protests

CONSENSUS Despite angry protesters throwing eggs outside, the Central Election Commission announced that President Chen Shui-bian had won the election

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH REUTERS

Pan-blue supporters tussle with police outside the offices of the Central Election Commission yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Angry pan-blue supporters stormed the Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday, but failed to prevent it from formally declaring the re-election of incumbent President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The commission said it would use alternative means of making its announcement public after protesters ripped the declaration off the CEC bulletin board last night.

"This decision to announce the winner was not done through voting, but by a consensus. The announcement does not have to be posted on the commissions's bulletin board; it can also be announced in newspapers or through a media release," a commission member said on condition of anonymity.

According to the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法), the commission had to hold a procedural meeting and announce a winner within seven days after the election.

About 200 angry pan-blue protesters blocked the entrance area of the administration building where the commission was meeting.

The protesters threw rocks and eggs and scuffled with helmeted riot police carrying shields.

"Truth unclear, suspend declaration," the demonstrators shouted. "Down with the commission."

A handful of KMT and People First Party (PFP) legislators also arrived at the scene to demand that the commission desist from declaring a winner in last Saturday's election before a decision on a recount is reached.

"You must be responsible to history," one opposition lawmaker shouted outside the commission meeting room.

At around 4:30pm protesters managed to force their way through the lines of police, entered the building by smashing the glass doors and rushed to the floor where the commission's meeting was held.

By this time the 17 members of the commission had already quietly left the building through an alternate exit.

"By posting the announcement, the commission is triggering a volcano that was already close to eruption," said PFP legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華).

CEC Chairman George Huang (黃石城) left yesterday's meeting for a few minutes to listen to Lee and another PFP legislator, Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國), who expressed their concern about the posting of the announcement.

Around 7pm, guarded by police, commission members posted the announcement on the bulletin board, but it was immediately ripped off by angry protesters.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday announced that the police would arrest anyone breaking the law.

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