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LIEN SAYS HE WILL NOT SHUN ELECTION RESPONSIBILITIES

2004-04-12 20:24:34

    Taipei, April 12 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan pledged Monday that he will assume full responsibility for his part in the March 20 presidential election as soon as all the facts concerning the disputed election have been clarified.

    Speaking at a news conference held at the KMT headquarters, Lien said that the election has not yet ended and that investigators are still struggling to dig out the facts surrounding various key issues that resulted in what Lien claims was "an unfair election."

    The KMT chairman said that he will continue working toward clarification and that he will be wholly accountable for the final election result.

    Lien promised to push for a transfer of power within the KMT regardless of the eventual outcome and said that he actually initiated a move in this direction before the presidential election. He added that the legislative elections in December will provide a good chance for the party to undergo the power transfer.

    Looking to the future, he went on, the KMT is poised to launch adjustments to trim its structure across the board while seeking to recruit new blood.

    Turning to the question of whether the KMT is facing an ideology rift, Lien claimed that such a problem does not exit in the party, as those who betrayed the party left it four years ago.

    Describing the KMT as the major driving force behind Taiwan's progress, stability and prosperity over the past 50 years, he said that the KMT has fully devoted its energy to building Taiwan for the sake of its people's well-being.

    KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng echoed Lien's remarks by making clear his determination to also resign to take responsibility. Lin vowed that he will immediately step down from his post as long as the truth is discovered.

    Lien and his running mate, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong, claim that the election was unfair and fraudulent and immediately lodged two lawsuits to nullify the election.

    Supporters of the opposition "pan-blue alliance" formed by the KMT, PFP and the New Party have staged a series of sometimes violent mass rallies in Taipei to protest the disputed election.

    They are demanding a vote recount, to which President Chen Shui-bian has already agreed, and a legislative investigation into the election-eve shooting of Chen, which they claim unfairly swayed the poll in Chen's favor.

    Lien lost to Chen by a very slim margin of 29,518 votes out of more than 13 million ballots cast in the bitterly contested presidential poll.

(By Flor Wang)

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