Mon, Dec 11, 2006 - Page 1 News List

All Kaohsiung ballots impounded for recount

SUPPORT KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said the party backed mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying's decision to file a lawsuit, while his rival said she respected his move

By Rich Chang and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS , IN KAOHSIUNG

Kaohsiung judges yesterday approved Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying's (黃俊英) application that the city's ballot boxes be impounded as evidence after Huang decided to file a lawsuit asking for the results of Saturday's election to be invalidated.

Huang lost to his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponent, Chen Chu (陳菊), by a razor-thin 0.14 percent margin. Chen won 379,417 votes while Huang garnered 378,303.

Huang's camp decided to dispute the election results on the grounds that there were too many invalidated ballots.

Huang's lawyers claimed that the people who cast the 6,622 invalid votes had voted for Huang. The election result could be reversed after a vote recount, they told judges.

Accompanied by his lawyer at the Kaohsiung Election Commission yesterday, Huang told reporters that he had "not yet lost" the election and still had a good chance of winning.

Huang said he did not file the lawsuit because he could not stand to lose, but because he did not want to lose because of cheating by his rival.

He was referring to the accusation made by Chen's camp on the eve of the election that Huang's campaign workers had tried to buy votes.

A vote recount would be carried out after Huang files an "election result nullification lawsuit" today, when the court will likely set a time to recount ballots that were cast and counted at 839 polling stations across the city.

A candidate can file an "election result nullification lawsuit" within 15 days of the Central Election Committee's official announcement of the electoral results.

Some KMT legislators and a number of KMT politicians on Saturday night led Huang's supporters to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office to demand a recount. The crowd left at around 3am yesterday.

Huang's lawyers applied to the Kaohsiung District Court at 11pm on Saturday for a total of 839 ballot boxes to be impounded.

The court arranged a hearing at midnight and yesterday at 5am judges approved Huang's application and ordered police to transport all the ballot boxes from 11 district offices of the city to the offices of the Kaohsiung Election Commission.

A woman brought to the hearing by KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), who claimed that she was a volunteer overseeing vote count procedures at one of the polls, told the judges that in a polling station she saw Chen's votes written on a blackboard as 474.

She said that the Central Election Committee by mistake had announced Chen obtained 747 votes at the polling station.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) canceled his plan to join KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) for a thank-you motorcade tour and flew down to Kaohsiung to show his support for Huang.

He then accompanied Huang on a motorcade tour around the city before meeting some KMT legislators and senior aides yesterday afternoon to evaluate the election.

After a two-hour meeting, Ma told the press that KMT headquarters would support Huang's decision in order to "clarify many controversies" and show their responsibility to the public.

He added that they also discussed the need for the KMT and the pan-blue camp to focus on unity and reform.

Ma, however, refused to elaborate on whether anyone would be held responsible for losing the race.

Meanwhile, Chen said that she respected Huang's decision to file a lawsuit, adding that winning or losing the election were both natural.

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