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NO WAY FOR RECOUNT OTHER THAN LAW REVISION: CABINET

2004-03-24 16:32:40

    Taipei, March 24 (CNA) The quickest and only way to solve the controversy in the wake of Saturday's presidential election is to revise the relevant law to allow for a ballot recount, a Cabinet spokesman said Wednesday.

    Executive Yuan spokesman Lin Chia-lung made the remarks after a meeting of the Executive Yuan in which Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan, Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Huang Shih-cheng, Minister without Portfolio Yeh Chun-jung and various others expressed their views about legal ways to solve the controversy.

    Lin said that revising the President and Vice President Election and Recall Law so as to start the legal process for a vote recount is the only channel through which the problem can be resolved.

    He said that the opposition camp's request that President Chen Shui-bian issue an emergency decree to allow for an immediate recount of the ballots is "whimsical" and that the government "can by no means accept it."

    Huang, meanwhile, said that if the Legislative Yuan can complete the revision of the related law Monday, the CEC will be able to complete all necessary preparations and conduct the recount next Saturday.

    It is estimated that 25,000 election workers will have to be mobilized for a recount, while related expenditure still has to be calculated, he added.

    President Chen Shui-bian won re-election by a razor-thin margin of 0.22 percent, or less than 30,000 votes, against his challenger, Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan.

    Lien has demanded a recount because of the slimness of the margin and has voiced suspicions over the shooting of Chen and Vice President Annette Lu on the eve of last Saturday's election, which he believes gave Chen sympathy votes and victory in the bitterly contested election.

    In addition, the number of invalid ballots cast this year were more than 11 times that of Chen's margin, Lien's supporters have pointed out.

(By Lilian Wu)

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