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CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION OF NATIONAL SECURITY MECHANISM DEMANDED

2004-03-31 19:41:12

    Taipei, March 31 (CNA) The opposition camp will file a compliant with the Council of Grand Justices to demand a constitutional interpretation of the disputed launch of the national security mechanism following the attempted assassination of President Chen Shui-bian, which it claims markedly affected the outcome of the March 20 presidential poll.

    Members of the legislative caucus of the opposition People First Party (PFP) and a group of lawyers made the announcement at a news conference held Wednesday at the Legislative Yuan.

    Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and PFP Chairman James Soong aligned to form the sole rival ticket to challenge President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu in the election. Lien lost the race to Chen by a hair's-breadth margin of 0.228 percent.

    The day before the election, Chen suffered a gunshot to his lower abdomen in an assassination attempt during a campaign rally, prompting Premier Yu Shyi-kun to order the activation of the national security mechanism later the same day.

    The exact number of military and police personnel who were unable to return to their registered domiciles to vote as a result of the incident is disputed, with the Ministry of National Defense putting the number at about 37,000 and the "pan-blue alliance" claiming that the number exceeded 200,000.

    Hsieh Chang-chieh, a PFP whip, said a group of lawyers has been handling the issue and he added that they will raise the demand for clarification of the issue as soon as possible.

    Hsieh strongly questioned the need for the government to implement the mechanism based on an explanation provided by the National Security Bureau, which said late March 19 that it had ruled out the possibility of political motivation or elements involved with mainland China behind the gun attack.

    He accused Premier Yu of violating government procedure by giving the order to implement the mechanism, because the order should have been issued by the president, the National Security Council secretary-general or his deputy, according to the law.

    If there was no need for the government to enact the national security mechanism as a result of the "slight injury" sustained by the president in the assassination attempt, then the authorities who issued the order abused their power and violated the human rights of many citizens, as well as the universal principle of justice, the lawyers claimed.

(By Flor Wang)

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