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Wed, Jan 05, 2000 - Page 4 News List

Candidates face signature deadline

ELECTIONS The 224,000 signatures required of independent candidates have some doing last minute scrambling

STAFF WRITER

Chu Hui-liang, running mate of independent presidential candidate Hsu Hsin-liang, hands over 100,000 copies of signature books in support of their presidential bid to be reviewed by the Central Election Commission.

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG, TAIPEI TIMES.

As tomorrow is the deadline for independent presidential candidates to hand over the required 224,000 signatures for the March election, independent presidential candidate Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) yesterday handed over the first batch of signatures to the Central Election Commission (CEC中選會).

Chu Hui-liang (朱惠良), Hsu's running mate, yesterday handed over 100,000 signatures to the CEC.

"Hsu has already collected more than 300,000 signatures," Chu said today they will hand over another 100,000 signatures and give out the rest of the signatures on the last day. Chu called for more signatures so as to avoid overlapping or duplicating signatures with other candidates.

According to election regulations, overlapping signatures are nullified for both sides. If too many signatures overlap it could result in a politician losing his or her candidacy.

The Taiwan Independence Party's candidate Cheng Pang-cheng (鄭邦鎮) and his partner Huang Yu-yen (黃玉炎), meanwhile, reportedly have collected only 120,000 signatures, as of yesterday.

An official of the party said the Cheng-Huang ticket has suffered insufficient resources partly because they were the latest to join the election campaign.

The official said pressure from pro-independence party elders, who have called on support for DPP presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and tried to persuade Cheng to withdraw from the election, is another factor that has hindered the party to collect more signatures.

While the Cheng camp is worried about insufficient support, an aide to independent presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) said the Soong camp has already collected over 1.4 million signatures but they are considering not handing all of them over.

The official said they are worried that the exposure of all their signatures may bring trouble to some of their supporters, although they didn't provide any details as to why this was so. The Soong camp yesterday called a meeting to decide how many signatures they should hand over.

In related news, although signature drives are not required for presidential candidates nominated by major parties, the KMT is undertaking a signature drive for its candidate Lien Chan (連戰).

"This is a test of mobilization," said KMT spokesman Huang Hwei-chen (黃輝珍). Some 4.62 million signatures for Lien have been collected, he said.

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