2004 was a roller-coaster year for Taiwanese politics, with at least two bullets being fired amid firecrackers in Tainan heralding the beginning of one of the most polarizing periods in Taiwan's history.
Taiwan failed to see a change of administrations during the presidential election on March 20. Defying wide-spread expectations of defeat, incumbent presidential and vice presidential candidates Chen Shui-bian (
Extenuating circumstances surrounding the election, however, set the stage for the political, judicial and social turmoil that characterized 2004. On March 19 at 2pm, Chen and Lu were shot but only lightly wounded, leading to the activation of a national security mechanism which the pan-blue camp later said prevented pan-blue-leaning servicemen from casting their votes.
Bitter about the loss, over 300,000 pan-blue supporters staged a week-long protest outside the presidential office after results were released by the Central Election Commission at 9:20pm on March 20. Violence over election results later broke out when a mob led by PFP legislators smashed their way into the commission's headquarters on March 28.
After the protests subsided, the pan-blue camp insisted on holding a NT$60 million recount effort and filed two lawsuits seeking to annul the election and its results in April. Implying that the pan-green camp had staged the election-eve shooting, the pan-blue controlled-legislature pushed through a bill creating the March 19 Shooting Investigation Special Committee (