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HOLDING ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TAIWAN PEOPLE'S NIGHTMARE

2004-03-24 23:14:56

    Taipei, March 24 (CNA) It would be a nightmare for the people of Taiwan if another presidential election were held to replace the one just completed, an aide to President Chen Shui-bian said Wednesday.

    Huang Chih-fang, director of the Public Affairs Department of the Presidential Office, made the remarks when he commented on a media report that opposition Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan expected a new presidential election will be held if last Saturday's election is nullified by judicial authorities.

    Huang said that President Chen has been clear that he will accept absolutely the results of a vote recount as requested by Lien and his running mate, People First Party Chairman James Soong, who lost the election to Chen and his running mate, Vice President Annette Lu, by a slim margin of 0.228 percent, or less than 30,000 votes from more than 13 million ballots cast.

    President Chen hopes that Lien and Soong will also accept the results of the vote recount and that they will not raise new questions, otherwise the election disputes will never be solved, Huang went on.

    Referring to the mass protest staged by Lien-Soong ticket supporters in front of the Presidential Office since Saturday night shortly after the preliminary election results were announced by the Central Election Commission, Chen urged the related government agencies and the general public as well to deal with the event with love and tolerance, according to Huang. "It is understandable the reaction of Lien-Soong ticket's supporters," Huang quoted President Chen as saying a day earlier.

    However, Huang noted, President Chen hopes that the demonstrators will go home as soon as possible to allow society to get back to normal and to create a friendly environment for talks among political leaders.

    Chen has openly expressed his willingness to meet Lien and Soong in person as soon as possible, according to Huang.

    For his part, Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung said that it is not in line with the law nor is it practicable to hold a new presidential election.

    Meanwhile, Chang Chun-hsiung, secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , described the proposal as "irresponsible" and insisted that the election disputes must be settled through judicial procedures.

    KMT spokesman Tsai Cheng-yuan denied the report, saying that Lien has never presented such a proposal. He admitted the proposal was mentioned Wednesday only in the weekly meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee, but no decision on the matter was made.

    In a press conference held Wednesday night, Lien reiterated his appeal for an immediate and open recount with all ballots being pallied together at the same location.

    However, Lien said that he does not oppose to revise the President and Vice President Election and Recall Law to pave the way for an administrative recount.

(By Huang Kwang-chun)

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