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2004-03-25 22:03:06

    Taipei, March 25 (CNA) The legislative caucus of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) dismissed as "unfair and not factual" Thursday the opposition "pan-blue alliance's" allegation that the mysterious election-eve shooting of President Chen Shui-bian was the main reason behind his re-election victory.

    Speaking at a news conference, DPP legislative whip Tsai Huang-lang said there is no direct relationship between the March 19 shooting and Chen's narrow re-election victory last weekend. "It's unfair to President Chen to link his hard-won re-election to the failed assassination attempt," Tsai said.

    Two days before the March 20 presidential poll, Tsai said, the the DPP legislative caucus had already predicted from the findings of a series of opinion surveys conducted by the DPP campaign headquarters that Chen would win by a margin of 160,000 ballots. "When we made the forecast, the shooting incident had not yet taken place," Tsai noted, adding that the "pan-blue alliance" of the Kuomintang (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) should stop making misleading allegations.

    Citing the DPP's successful prediction of Chen's upset win in the 2000 presidential race, Tsai claimed that the DPP has long enjoyed a reputation for the accuracy of its opinion surveys.

    Chen was lightly wounded when an unidentified assailant fired at least two shots at the president and Vice President Annette Lu while they were driving past large crowds of supporters in an open-top jeep in the southern city of Tainan last Friday. The shooting grazed Chen's abdomen and hit Lu's right knee.

    In 2000, Chen came from behind to beat PFP Chairman James Soong by a slim margin of about 3 percent -- 39 percent vs. 36 percent. In that race, Lien ended up a distant third, winning about 28 percent of the vote.

    In the 2004 race, Lien and Soong teamed up to challenge Chen's re-election bid, but Chen won again, this time with 50.1 percent of the vote -- a margin of just 29,518 out of some 12.9 million votes tallied.

    The defeated Lien-Soong team claims that it was an "unfair" election with a lot of "question marks." Although Lien and Soong have provided little specific evidence of wrongdoing in Saturday's election, large crowds of their supporters have rallied in front of the Presidential Office for the past five days, at first demanding a recount and more recently calling for an entirely new election.

(By Sofia Wu)


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