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OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REFUSES TO CONCEDE DEFEAT

2004-03-20 22:27:11

    Taipei, March 20 (CNA) The opposition "pan-blue alliance's" presidential candidate announced Saturday that he will file a lawsuit to declare the just-concluded presidential election invalid because he felt it was unfair.

    Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan made the announcement after learning that he trailed President Chen Shui-bian by a razor-thin margin.

    Addressing huge crowds of supporters converging at his campaign headquarters, Lien first called on his supporters to remain calm and rational.

    He then claimed that the just-concluded presidential election was unfair. "If we stay silent, I don't know how we or our generation could face up to history, to the democratic system, our forefathers and offspring," he said.

    Lien demanded that the Central Election Commission (CEC) seal all ballot boxes in the 13,000 polling booths around the country so that a recount can be done.

    Lien also said that the shooting of the president and vice president on the eve of the presidential poll was suspicious and that its influence on the vote should be investigated.

    Speaking on the same occasion, Lien's running mate People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong said Saturday he supported Lien's decision to seek to annul the results of the just-concluded presidential election through legal procedures.

    Soong said he agreed with Lien's contention that the election was shrouded in "a cloud of questions." He alleged that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party had been manipulating the election from the very beginning, which damaged the fairness of the vote.

    He said democracy is the country's best weapon against Communist China, and if the election was not conducted fairly, Taiwan has lost its weapon to fight communism.

    On the eve of the vote, gunfire hit President Chen Shui-bian in the abdomen and Vice President Annette Lu in the knee as they rode through the southern city of Tainan, waving to supporters from an open-top Jeep. Both of them were discharged from the hospital with minor injuries hours after the shooting.

    According to the Election and Recall Law, the "pan-blue alliance" of the KMT and the People First Party must file the "invalid election" lawsuit with the Taiwan High Court and the High Administrative Court within 15 days after the CEC formally announces the winning ticket on March 26.

(By Sofia Wu)

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