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2004-03-20 23:35:10

    Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Calling his victory in the presidential election Saturday a victory for all the people, President Chen Shui-bian said this is the beginning of a new era, and vowed to live up to the mandate given to him by the people in his second term.

    After winning re-election by a slim margin, the president spoke to his supporters at his campaign headquarters, telling them the election is over, and urged everyone to work together and join hands in defending the country and protecting its hard-earned democracy.

    Accompanied by members of his ruling team, he promised to create a new Taiwan and to improve people's lives.

    He also thanked his rival in the presidential race, Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan, saying Lien's criticisms drove him and his administration forward, bringing the country's democracy closer to perfection.

    He promised to keep a receptive mind to different political opinions.

    He also urged Beijing to respect Taiwan people's decision, face up to the results of his re-election and create opportunities for bilateral cooperation.

    As to the referendum, which was carried out along with the presidential election, the president said there was room for improvement as it was the first of its kind in the country, and many people didn't fully understand its significance.

    However, the president said the referendum has sent a message around the world that the country wants democracy and loves peace.

    He promised to lay down national policy in line with public opinion reflected in the referendum, and urged Beijing to withdraw its missiles targeted at Taiwan and open negotiations with his administration for peace across the Taiwan Strait.

(By Maubo Chang)


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