Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung judiciary orders full recount of mayoral ballots

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung judges yesterday announced that a recount of all ballots in December's Kaohsiung mayoral election will take place beginning March 12.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英) lost to his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponent Chen Chu (陳菊) by just 0.14 percent.

Chen won with 379,417 votes while Huang garnered 378,303.

Huang subsequently filed a lawsuit asking for the result of election to be invalidated. In response, judges ordered all of the city's ballot boxes be impounded as evidence.

"Because the election result was very close and there were many invalid ballot papers, the presiding judges decided to recount all of the city's ballot papers," Kaohsiung District Court said in a press statement issued yesterday afternoon.

"Because there were 6,622 invalid votes in the election ... there is a chance that the result of the mayoral election could be reversed after a recount," the court said.

The judges made reference to the precedent set by the recount in the 2004 presidential election when former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) lost to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). It was estimated that, on average, five invalid votes in each ballot box were reclassified as valid after the recount.

There are 839 polling stations in the city, it said, adding Huang's camp had offered "some evidence and witnesses" showing that some vote counts were suspicious, which prompted the judges to decide on a complete recount.

The court said the recount would begin on March 12 and take a few days to complete.

Huang's lawyers have claimed that the people who cast the 6,622 invalid votes had voted for Huang. The election result could be reversed after a vote recount, it added.

Chen Chu yesterday said she did not approve of the recount.

"The court's actions means they distrust all the polling station staff," she said.

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