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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: Taiwan Politics - L
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE= 3/22/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE= TAIWAN POLITICS (L)

NUMBER=2-314346

BYLINE= MICHAEL KITCHEN

DATELINE= TAIPEI

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

/// EDS: REISSUING TO CORRECT THAT RECOUNT NOT YET APPROVED. ///

INTRO: Supporters of Taiwan's losing presidential candidate vow to continue street protests until their accusations of election fraud are addressed. V-O-A's Michael Kitchen reports from Taipei on the tension surrounding Saturday's vote.

TEXT: Mass demonstrations and occasional violence rocked the island, as supporters of the defeated opposition candidate call for faster action on their demands for a recount and a probe into alleged election fraud.

Hundreds of Lien Chan voters remain camped out in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei, where they gathered after results were announced in Saturday's election.

Mr. Lien lost to incumbent President Chen Shui-bian by less than one percent of the vote.

Opposition supporters and politicians from Mr. Lien's alliance of parties are demanding an immediate recount, noting that two-point-five percent of the ballots were declared invalid.

They also want an investigation into the apparent assassination attempt on President Chen a day before the election.

Mr. Chen and his running mate were slightly wounded by gunshots while campaigning on Friday. Lawmaker Bill Sun, a member of Mr. Lien's Kuomintang organization, says the incident swayed the election in the president's favor.

/// SUN ACT ///

The shooting event turned Chen Shui-bian into a godlike (person), because many of our local people say, . "Even a bullet cannot hurt him!"

/// END ACT ///

He says law enforcement needs to offer a clear public account of the shooting to address opposition concerns that the incident was staged as a political ploy.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, also a member of Mr. Lien's party, has urged protesters to go home and await the outcome of the opposition's legal motions. Demonstrators, however, say they will remain until the recount is over.

At Taiwan's High Court, where Lien supporters are also protesting, officials say they will try to rule on the request for a recount quickly but that time is needed to do the job in a careful, legal manner.

The court says a ruling on Mr. Lien's motion for a recount and an investigation into alleged fraud could take as long as six months.

President Chen has so far remained silent on the controversy, but officials in his administration accuse the opposition of stirring up unrest.

The Lien camp has meanwhile announced plans for a mass protest march this Saturday. (SIGNED)

NEB/HK/MK/KPD



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