Tue, Nov 30, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blues file election appeal

DEBATE The team representing the nation's opposition parties filed an appeal with the Taiwan High Court of its verdict upholding the legitimacy of the March 20 elections

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fulfilling the promise they made earlier this month, the pan-blue camp delivered their appeal of the verdict in the lawsuit contesting the legitimacy of the re-election of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to the Taiwan High Court yesterday morning.

Claiming that the court used the most narrow of legal interpretations in its decision to reject the claims of the pan-blue camp, the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) and the People First Party's (PFP) joint legal team yesterday officially registered their appeal with the High Court, 19 days after the team received documents detailing the High Court's Nov. 4 decision to reject the first of the pan-blue camp's two lawsuits contesting the election results.

A verdict in the second lawsuit, which contests the legitimacy of the election on the grounds of potential interference -- a reference to the nationwide referendums conducted on election day, as well as the possible effect of the election-eve assassination attempt on Chen -- is still pending.

"We are calling on the court to adhere to the spirit of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) in their consideration of this appeal," said pan-blue camp legal team lawyer Lee Chung-teh (李宗德) yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference at the KMT's Taipei headquarters, the pan-blue camp's legal team yesterday said that the High Court had used "narrow" definitions of the law to reject the first and second claims of the pan-blue camp's legal team in the election lawsuit.

The first claim was that the ballots had been miscounted, which prompted an exhaustive recount of all ballots. Based on this recount, the court announced Nov. 4 that Chen and Lu won the election by 25,563 votes. The original margin was reported as 29,518.

"According to Article 104 of the presidential election and recall law, the results of the election can be nullified if it can be proven that the number of ballots were so inaccurate as to have affected election results. The High Court interpreted this as meaning only that the election should be nullified if the ballot count was inaccurate, or if there have been mistakes in the recognition of valid and invalid ballots. This is counter to the spirit of the law, which former judgments have defined as including other sorts of `invalid votes,' such as substitute or repeat ballots," Lee said yesterday, urging the High Court to consider the appeal.

Furthermore, Lee said, the High Court used an unsuitable interpretation of Subparagraph 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 140 of the election and recall law, on which the blue camp's second claim is based.

The subparagraph states that the results of the election may be contested if it can be shown that "threats, violence, or other illegal means" were used to obstruct candidates from engaging in campaigning or from allowing qualified voters from exercising their vote-casting rights freely.

The pan-blue camp contends that the two referendums held on the day of the presidential election, combined with the election-eve shooting of Chen and Lu and subsequent initiation of the "national security mechanism," illegally "affected" the results of the election.

The High Court basically considered only issues concerning election and voting procedures, not the effects of the above three issues, Lee said.

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