Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 1 News List

PFP questions legitimacy of Saturday's vote

TROUBLED TIMES After a dismal showing in the National Assembly election on Saturday, the People First Party says it wants a second opinion

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

The People First Party (PFP) said yesterday it plans to request a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices soon to look into the legitimacy of the election, while trouble brewed within its ranks.

"The results of the May 14 election does not change the PFP's role and significance as the third largest party in the legislature. To take this election as an evaluation of the PFP's direction would be a mistake. The party's legislative caucus will soon request a constitutional interpretation. We cannot allow the constitutional reforms to be recklessly passed in a situation where 23 percent of the people are confused or that merely reflects party mobilization," PFP caucus whip Lee Yung-ping (李永萍) said at the PFP's headquarters yesterday morning.

Determined

The PFP yesterday held a press conference presided over by PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) to explain the party's position on its dismal showing in the National Assembly election on Saturday and voice their determination to contest its legitimacy.

On Saturday, the PFP fell far short of its aim of winning 40 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly and secured only 18 seats. Given that only 23 percent of the total voting population came out to cast their ballots, however, Chang said yesterday that the election's legitimacy was doubtful.

"In the May 14 election, 77 percent of the population did not come out and vote, meaning that 77 percent of the population are not satisfied with any of the parties or any politicians [in Taiwan]. All politicians and parties need to reflect on this," Chang said, adding that the PFP also believed that, given the low turnout, the election more reflected each individual party's ability to mobilize voters than party popularity.

Rumors

Despite the PFP's claims, rumors circulated yesterday that a number of party legislators might be planning to either defect or form their own party. These included legislators Lee Ching-hua (李慶華), Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) and Chiu Yi (邱毅), who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the election results.

Responding to the rumors, Chang said that while the PFP will not deviate from its positions on cross-strait peace, reconciliation and the need to end political bickering, the party will obviously have to make some adjustments. However, Chang said, if there are people who differ from the party on its stated direction or have concerns about the election, the party will have no choice but to part ways with them.

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that despite a low turnout, the legitimacy of the election is unquestionable.

Hsieh made the remarks after the legislative caucus of the PFP said it plans to ask the Council of Grand Justices to judge whether the election's 23.36 percent turnout makes it binding.

In a democratic election, Hsieh pointed out, abstaining from the vote is also a voter choice. Therefore, the premier said, the National Assembly electoral outcome is not legally disputable.

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