Mon, Mar 29, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Blue camp mum on acceptance of result of recount

END IN SIGHT?KMT and PFP leaders haven't said whether they would let a recount be the final word in the ongoing election dispute

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Leaders of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance refused to say yesterday whether they would accept the result of a recount.

The parties' leaders met yesterday to discuss a possible meeting with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

"We have received a call from the Presidential Office about the meeting," PFP Secretary-General Tsai Chung-hsiung (蔡鐘雄) said.

On Saturday night, Chen said he had agreed to demands by KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to hold a meeting, allow an immediate recount and assemble an independent team of foreign and domestic investigators to probe the March 19 assassination attempt.

Chen said the meeting could take place today without any preconditions following consultations between his chief staff and that of Lien and Soong.

"We will talk over with our KMT counterpart how to reach a consensus on this matter," Tsai said prior to meeting with his KMT counterpart at KMT headquarters yesterday afternoon.

As of press time, the alliance had yet to announce its response concerning the meeting.

Earlier yesterday, Presidential Office spokesman James Huang (黃志芳) said that Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) would contact both the KMT's and the PFP's secretaries-general by phone at an appropriate time to arrange the meeting.

Huang added that the Presidential Office has set no conditions on where or when the meeting may take place.

KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) said that the alliance's demands are simple: an immediate recount of the March 20 vote, the assembly of a special task force to investigate the March 19 assassination attempt against Chen and a probe of the activation of the national security mechanism after the shooting.

Lien, who lost to Chen by a margin of less than 30,000 votes, has refused to concede defeat, alleging voting irregularities, for which he has not provided evidence, and raising questions about Chen's gunshot wound.

Lien's previous appeal to the Taiwan High Court for a recount was rejected on Wednesday on the grounds that the Central Election Commission (CEC) had not yet officially declared Chen the winner.

While Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), a KMT vice chairman and the manager of the alliance's national campaign team, said during the rally on Saturday that the result of a recount should be accepted, alliance spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元), at a press conference later Saturday, refused to say whether Lien and Soong would accept the result.

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