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HIGH COURT RULES FREEZE OF ELECTION BALLOTS

2004-03-21 16:16:25

    Taipei, March 21 (CNA) The Taiwan High Court ruled Sunday morning that all presidential election ballots being held by the election authorities in 25 cities and counties nationwide should be frozen until controversy over the election results has been cleared up.

    The court announced that all presidential ballots, including blank, valid and annulled ballots, as well as name-lists of voters and electoral workers should also be frozen and sealed to be used as evidence in a lawsuit filed by the opposition "pan-blue alliance" presidential ticket.

    Having refused to accept Saturday's election results, the opposition "pan-blue alliance" presidential ticket of Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong filed a motion with the court to demand an annulment of the election results and a recount of the votes.

    The Lien-Soong ticket lost to incumbent President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu by a razor-thin margin of 0.228 percent, or 6,442,452 votes to 6,471,970 votes.

    As of Sunday noon, district court judges in Taipei, Taoyuan, Keelung, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi, Penghu and Kinmen had proceeded to their local election commissions to oversee the ballot-freezing process.

(By Deborah Kuo)

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