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2004-03-02 15:04:28

    Taipei, March 2 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday it is inviting foreign pundits and journalists to come to Taiwan to see for themselves the Republic of China's March 20 presidential election.

    Speaking at a regular news conference, Chieh Wen-chi, deputy director of the MOFA's International Organizations Department, said the MOFA has invited the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) to organize a delegation to Taiwan to witness the ROC's progress in political democratization and electoral system advancement.

    According to Chieh, the AAEA was formed in 1997 to promote and institutionalize open and transparent elections, independent and impartial election authorities, the professionalization of Asian election authorities, citizen participation in the electoral and civic process, information sharing, and the development of resources for election-related information and research.

    Chieh said the MOFA is also organizing a delegation of foreign press groups stationed at the U.N. headquarters in New York to come to Taiwan to observe the upcoming presidential poll.

    It will be Taiwan's third direct presidential election. On the day of the election, the nation's first-ever referendum will also be held simultaneously.

    Various public opinion polls have shown that the two-way presidential race between the Democratic Progressive Party ticket of President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu and the opposition "pan-blue alliance" ticket of Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong is running in a dead heat.

(By Sofia Wu)


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