Sat, Mar 27, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Negotiators fail to agree on draft recount legislation

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators failed to reach agreement on an amended version of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) in inter-party negotiations yesterday.

Although the negotiations lasted the whole day, they never officially started, as representatives from all the parties could not attend the meeting at the same time. The negotiations will resume on Tuesday during the next legislative session.

All representatives left the negotiations temporarily at one point, and independent alliance leader Tsai Hao (蔡豪) did not show up at all.

At 5:30pm Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced a recess.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), a co-chairman of yester-day's meeting, dismissed the negotiators, despite objections from another co-chairman, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) convener Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權).

Four versions of the amendment were to be discussed yesterday, but the pan-blue caucuses combined their two drafts into one. They left the negotiations early on to discuss and decide on the combined version.

The pan-blue camp's new version states that if the gap between the two leading candidates in the election is less than 1 percent of the total number of valid ballots, the losing candidates can apply to the High Court for a recount within seven days after the election. The recount has to be conducted by the High Court. The pan-blue draft makes provision for the laying of election fraud charges if one candidate took steps to damage an opponent's campaign.

The pan-blues also demand that a special committee be formed to investigate the assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on March 19. They want the committee to report to the legislature within one month of the incident.

The pan-green camp showed strong opposition to the pan-blue camp's draft, claiming they want the amendment to allow the Legislature to handle the recount, rather than the judiciary.

Ker said pan-blue legislators had included the election fraud article to ensure the victory of their own candidates.

"The pan-blue camp has been offering different versions as time goes by, and it is unclear what kind of recount they are asking for," Ker said.

"The new version, which says that the election fraud charge can be laid if steps are taken to affect a candidate's campaign, would take advantage of the shooting incident, and the emergency security measures can be used as reasons to press the charge," Ker said.

Meanwhile, the pan-blue camp accused their opponents of delaying the negotiations.

"We have offered a final version, but the pan-green camp is delaying the process. If they really agree to go ahead with the recount, the Central Election Commission should have delayed announcing the result of the presidential election," KMT caucus whip Liao Feng-te (廖風德) said.

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