Sun, Mar 21, 2004 - Page 17 News List

Campaign Special ( The Vanquished ) - Lien calls election unfair, demands a recount

Saying that the election result should be declared invalid, Lien instructed his attorneys to file a lawsuit

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT-PFP alliance supporters last night mourn their candidates' loss.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Calling the election unfair and filled with many unanswered questions, the presidential candidate of the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance last night refused to concede defeat and announced that he would take legal action to have last night's electoral result and his opponents' elected status be declared invalid.

In view of his narrow loss to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) incumbent President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his running mate Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), who headed the pan-blue camp's presidential ticket, also demanded that the Central Election Commission (CEC) seize and seal all ballot boxes for a recount.

According to votes tallied by the CEC, Chen won the election with 6.47 million votes against 6.44 million for Lien.

Speaking against the backdrop of the shooting and wounding of Chen and Lu on Friday, Lien said that "the shooting incident had a direct impact on the election that, coupled with many other suspicious matters, have clearly left people with a strong impression that the election was unfair.

"If we are to keep quiet now, how could we be held accountable to history and our future generations" Lien said in a speech from his national campaign headquarters in Taipei approximately four hours after polls closed at 4pm.

"It is for these reasons that I've decided, and the alliance as a whole has agreed with me, to raise a motion to have the election declared invalid," Lien said. His remarks drew cheers from pan-blue supporters who crowded the venue, blowing air horns and chanting: "Invalid! Invalid!"

Standing alongside Lien on stage during his 15-minute speech was his running mate, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), the vice chairmen from both the KMT and the PFP, as well as scores of pan-blue legislators.

"Given that the election was filled with a series of suspicious events, we demand that the CEC seize and seal all ballot boxes for a recount," Lien said. This remark sent another wave of cheers and blaring air horns through the gathered pan-blue faithful who shouted: "Recount! Recount!"

Lien, who ran an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2000 as the KMT's candidate, stressed that "if Taiwan cannot lose, it then must not lose in this unfair election."

Expressing gratitude to his supporters, Lien urged them to stay calm and rational. Saying that Taiwan's democracy is the one most effective weapon against China, Soong called on pan-blue supporters to throw their support behind Lien's decision and "to calmly and rationally voice to the world that we want a fair election."

While a number of pan-blue diehards were seen weeping over the Lien-Soong ticket's defeat, other supporters were heard angrily expressing their emotion, yelling that "they cannot accept the result."

As late as 11pm, a massive crowd of pan-blue supporters still gathered at the alliance's headquarters with KMT Deputy Spokeswoman Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) and KMT Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) giving the crowd a pep-talk and reminding them to remain calm and rational.

In a bid to prevent any possible post-election conflict, the police force was called upon to beef up security around the alliance's national campaign headquarters, where wire-gates were erected for added security.

Three hours after Lien made his speech, two teams of lawyers representing the alliance proceeded to the Taiwan High Court and the Administrative Supreme Court, filing demands asking the CEC to seize and to seal all the ballot boxes.

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