Tue, Apr 13, 2004 - Page 2 News List

DPP-KMT near agreement on recount

REUTERS , TAIPEI

The government and opposition have agreed on many aspects of a recount of the disputed presidential election and may be able to start the recount by the middle of next month, lawyers for both sides said yesterday.

At a hearing at the Taiwan High Court, both sides agreed that a full recount should be conducted by the Central Election Commission and witnessed by judges and representatives from both parties, said Wellington Koo (顧立雄), a lawyer for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Chen defeated Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) by a very small margin on March 20. Lien has filed a suit seeking to nullify Chen's victory, citing voting irregularities and a record number of invalid ballots.

"There's a high degree of consensus between the two sides. I think it is quite likely that we can have the recount before mid-May," Koo told reporters after a three-hour meeting with Lien's lawyers.

Lien's lawyers said the court also felt mid-May was a reasonable time for the recount to take place.

Koo said some details still had to be ironed out, such as who would qualify as a party representative.

Chen beat Lien by fewer than 30,000 votes out of more than 13 million cast. The suit cited a record 330,000 invalid ballots to be re-examined in the recount.

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