Thu, Nov 11, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen calls on pan-blues to follow Kerry's example

POLITICAL DIVISIONS Citing John Kerry's concession speech, the president decried the pan-blue camp's continued efforts to contest the result of the March 20 election

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

While complimenting the democratic manner shown by US Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry in his concession speech, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday expressed incomprehension over moves made by his election opponents since the March 20 presidential vote.

"Kerry stressed in his concession speech that one who loses election should not harbor remorse, anger or recrimination," Chen said.

"Yet here in Taiwan, now almost eight months after the March 20 presidential election, those who were defeated in the election still keep with them feelings of animosity," Chen said while receiving three members of the US House of Representatives at the Presidential Office.

They were Ciro Rodriguez, Solomon Ortiz and Charles Gonzalez, all Democrats.

"Such a demeanor not only is hard for people to comprehend but is also something that Taiwan ought to learn from the US and its founding-nation spirit," Chen said.

Chen told his visitors that two parts of Kerry's speech had made a vivid impression on him.

The first was when Kerry made a point to stress that after the election,"the next morning we all wake up as Americans ? We must join in common effort, without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity."

The second part was when Kerry noted in his speech that "the outcome [of the election] should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process," Chen said.

"It is different story here in Taiwan," he said.

Chen said that when he was elected four years ago, rather than receiving congratulatory calls from his election opponents, he had made calls to the other contenders to give his regards.

"Four years later, when I succeed in re-election, [my] opponents still do not respect the voters' decision nor do they respect the verdict rendered by the court in their judicial suit [contesting the election result]," Chen said, referring to the annulment suit filed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance seeking to overturn the result of the March 20 election.

The Taiwan High Court last Thursday gave its verdict on the lawsuit. The court dismissed the pan-blue camp's claims that Chen had been unfairly elected and announced that Chen had prevailed by a margin of 25,000 votes.

But the pan-blue camp has refused to accept the verdict, with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) saying that the findings of the court were riddled with mistakes that disappointed him and his supporters. According to Lien, the battle is not yet over, and they will continue to file appeals.

PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), Lien's running mate, expressed support for Lien's view.

Chen told the US representatives that although the Democratic Party had not won the presidential election, they should feel proud for having won the hearts of the people and their respect.

Citing US president Abraham Lincoln's 1858 "House Divided" speech, in which he said "a house divided against itself cannot stand," Chen stressed that Taiwan needs to be united.

"Although Taiwan's walk on the democratic road is hard and bumpy, democracy is the road of no return, it is the correct road and is Taiwan's best defense," he said.

In response, Ortiz told Chen that he has confidence in Taiwan's democratic system and order.

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