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2004-03-24 19:10:45

    Taipei, March 24 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan appealed Wednesday for solidarity among the opposition "pan-blue alliance" and vowed to dig out "the truth" regarding the disputed March 20 presidential poll and the gunshot suffered by President Chen Shui-bian on the eve of polling day.

    Lien was quoted as making the remarks during a weekly meeting of the KMT's policy-making Central Standing Committee -- the first of its kind in the wake of the Saturday's presidential poll -- by party spokesman Tsai Cheng-yuan.

    Lien lost the race by a very slim margin of less than 30,000 ballots to Chen, who won a second term, prompting Lien to question the fairness of the election and pushing some of his supporters to stage a marathon protest in the square in front of the Presidential Office since late Saturday demanding a recount.

    The KMT chief filed two lawsuits Saturday immediately after the preliminary results were announced, demanding an annulment of the election.

    According to Tsai, Lien pledged that he will assume full responsibility for the many difficulties that the "pan-blue alliance" has encountered and he also expressed his strong belief that "the public demand must be heeded" and that "justice must be served."

    Tsai said Lien has said he is not "unable to afford to lose" and that he favors a quick recount of the votes through an emergency decree issued by the president rather than by going the legal route via a revision of the President and Vice President Election and Recall Law.

    Lien also requested that no conditions be attached to the recount and that neutral and prominent figures be invited to monitor the entire process, Tsai said, adding that his party chairman also demands an independent panel be set up and comprised of impartial professionals to investigate Chen's shooting.

    According to the KMT spokesman, Lien did not make any comments regarding the possibility of a merger of the "pan-blue alliance" parties -- the KMT, the People First Party and the New Party.

    Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, who is also a KMT vice chairman, said that the KMT will never rescind the two lawsuits and that what he claimed are "the many suspicious points" surrounding the shooting must be fully clarified.

(By Flor Wang)


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