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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 4-0109 TTA-Taiwan Election
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=3/19/2004

TYPE=ENGLISH PROGRAMS UPDATE

TITLE= TTA/Taiwan Elections (dated material)

NUMBER=4-0109

BYLINE= Rick Pantaleo

PHONE= (202) 260-7401

DATELINE= Washington

Inserts are available in Dalet - SOD/English News Now/Reports

INTRO: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and his vice president, Annette Lu were shot and slightly wounded in an apparent assassination attempt on Friday. The shooting took place while the President and Vice President were out campaigning on the eve of an election that could bring a turning point in Taiwan's tense relationship with China. Voters go to the polls on Saturday to choose between their pro-independence incumbent President Chen Shui-bian and his opponent, Nationalist Party leader, Lien Chan as their new President. Also on the ballot is a controversial two-question referendum. The first question asks voters if Taiwan should negotiate with China on a "peace and stability" framework for cross-straits discussions. The other asks if Taiwan should pursue advanced missile defense equipment, should China refuse to withdraw its missiles currently aimed at Taiwan.

TEXT: Despite what has been called an emotional, bitter and acrimonious election campaign, many observers, like Norman Fu, the Washington Bureau Chief for the China Times are stunned by the assassination attempt.

FU ACT#1:

I was not only surprised, but actually I was very shocked, when I heard about this. Having said that I must say that I always had this nagging feeling that something might happen before an election. There were rumors that there might be a riot and that sort of thing, but never anything of this sort, of this magnitude.

END ACT

TEXT: Richard C. Bush III, Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC think tank, says emotions are running high in Taiwan, because so much is at stake in the election.

BUSH ACT:

The election has been generating passions because the voters of Taiwan are being offered a fairly clear choice on policy towards China. The Pan-Blue camp that is led by Lien Chan favors more of an accommodation stance towards China. Where the Pan-Green has a more skeptical stance and some would say, wants to promote the permanent separation of Taiwan from China. There are significant areas of overlap, but still people have a choice and they know it.

END ACT

TEXT: Taiwan's election law bans pre-election opinion polls and surveys in the10 days prior to an election. But, in polls that were released prior to the cut-off, Norman Fu of the China Times has found that Taiwanese voters seem to be favoring Lien Chan in the election.

FU ACT #2

I must say the polls I have seen always point to Mr. Lien Chan have a little edge over President Chen Shui-bian. President Chen Shui-bian's camp had sort of a boost after the February 8th island wide march and rally. And then the KMT and the PFP, People First party, a coalition, reacted to that by having their own rally on the 13th of March. The turnout according to most of the reports was even greater than over two million people.

END ACT:

TEXT: Norman Fu, Washington Bureau Chief of the China Times and Richard Bush, III Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution were guests on a recent VOA Talk To America program that discussed the Taiwan elections.

VNN/RP/ACC/



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