Sat, Mar 20, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Premier concerned over TVBS plan to broadcast exit polls

CNA , TAIPEI

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that the government will do everything possible to coordinate with a local cable television station that had earlier said it will conduct exit polls on today's presidential election.

Speaking in a radio interview, Yu said that although there is no law prohibiting the conducting of exit polls, the Cabinet is worried about the possibility of "incidents" erupting between TVBS unveiling its exit polls and the formal announcement of the election results later tonight.

Yu said that exit polls have never been conducted in this country before and that there is no law prohibiting them.

The problem, he went on, is that this is a bitterly contested election and the government has to take a variety of factors into consideration.

The premier said that an earlier decision by the Central Election Commission to count as valid any presidential ballots miscast in the referendum ballot boxes and vice versa has trig-gered concern that incidents could erupt between the opening of the ballots and the formal announcement of the official election results.

The commission later reversed its decision to allow an earlier announcement of the presidential result.

Yu said that if the TV station unveils its exit poll right after the polling stations close at 4pm, then there would be still two to three hours before the formal announcement of the election results, and the government is worried that there could be disturbances during this period.

Yu yesterday also urged the people to stay calm and support the government.

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