Sun, Mar 21, 2004 - Page 13 News List

Campaign Special (Results ) - Chen overcomes the odds

The DPP managed to make inroads into traditionally pan-blue areas, such as the Hakka strongholds of Hsinchu, Taoyuan and Miaoli

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Central Election Commission Chairman Huang Shih-cheng yesterday evening officially announces the results of the presidential election.

PHOTO: TANG PIN-CHAO. TAIPEI TIMES

The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced last night that Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) won the 11th Presidential Election by 29,518 votes over Lien Chan (連戰) and James Soong (宋楚瑜).

According to official election results provided the CEC, the total number of valid ballots cast yesterday was 12,914,422. The Chen-Lu ticket won 6,471,970 votes, or 50.11 percent of total eligible votes, while the Lien-Soong ticket won 6,442,452 votes, or 49.89 percent of the total.

Of the 16,504,179 eligible voters, 13,251,719 cast votes, a turnout of 80.288 percent. The number of invalid ballots was 337,297, or 2.5 percent of the total ballots cast.

"The Chen-Lu ticket has won the 11th Presidential, Vice-Presidential Election," CEC Chairman George Huang (黃石城) announced at 9pm last night.

Chen's margin of victory, 30,598 votes, was much less than in the 2000 presidential election.

In that year Chen won 4,977,697 votes (39.30 percent) to Soong's 4,664,972 (36.84 percent) and Lien's 2,925,513 (23.10 percent).

The results indicate that the pan-blue camp's assumption that Lien and Soong together would win the same number of votes as they won as rivals four years ago was misplaced.

In this year's election, the northern region -- Taipei City, Taipei County, Keelung City, Ilan County, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County -- the Lien-Soong ticket won 54.77 percent to Chen-Lu's 45.23 percent of valid votes.

In Taipei City, the Lien-Soong ticket won 56.53 percent to Chen and Lu's 43.47 percent.

"In the past four years, President Chen has been focusing on the development of all regions except Taipei, while during the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rule, Taipei had been the focus of their administration. Therefore, it is not surprising that in this election, the pan-blue camp had a landslide victory in the Taipei regions," said Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華), a sociology professor at National Chengchi University.

In the Taipei City mayoral election in 2002, KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) won by 384,000 votes over Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lee Ying-yuan (李應元). The pan-green camp gained 10,000 more ballots in Taipei City yesterday.

The DPP also seemed to make some progress in the Hakka majority areas of Hsinchu county and city, Taoyuan County and Miaoli County.

It has tried to court Hakka voters over the past four years by establishing a Hakka-language television station and reviving Hakka culture and language.

In the 2000 election, the DPP ticket won no more than 37 percent in any of these regions. The Chen-Lu ticket this time won nearly 45 percent in Taoyuan County and Hsinchu County.

The southern region again proved to be the stronghold of the pan-green camp. In Chiayi county and city, Tainan city and county and Kaohsiung City, the Chen-Lu ticket won more than 55 percent of the vote.

"Given the DPP's southern Taiwan grassroots strategy, it is no surprise that the southern region has been the DPP's stronghold," Ku said.

Nantou County, formerly home of the Taiwan Provincial Government and a stronghold of former governor Soong, also became more green.

In the previous presidential election, Soong, running as an independent, won 46.94 percent of total vote to Chen's 34.49 percent. This time, the pan-green camp won 48.75 percent of votes in the county to the pan-blue camp's 51.25 percent, despite criticism from the pan-blue camp of the DPP government's efforts to rebuild the county following the 921 earthquake in 1999.

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