OPPOSITION'S CLAIM AGAINST PRESIDENT, VICE PRESIDENT INVALID: JUDGE
Central News Agency
Taipei, June 17 (CNA) The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by defeated presidential candidate Lien Chan and his running mate James Soong to nullify the re-election of President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu because the plaintiffs have failed to substantiate their claim, the presiding judge said Friday.
Lien and Soong alleged that the outcome of last year's March 20 election was influenced by various electoral scandals, a referendum held on the day of the election and the activation of a "national security mechanism" following the election-eve shooting of Chen and Lu that Lien and Soong claimed prevented a number of police and military servicemen from going to the polls.
According to Hsu Chao-hsiung, presiding judge of the case, it was the Central Election Commission rather than the president that had the authority to decide whether the referendum was to be held alongside the presidential election.
On the activation of the "national security mechanism, " Hsu said the Ministry of National Defense was only exercising its duty and that even if extra military servicemen were asked to stay at their posts, there is no evidence showing that this was ordered by Chen and Lu.
While Lien and Soong could not prove that the March 19 shooting was set up by Chen and Lu to give them an advantage in the election, Chen and Lu were not the operators of underground radio stations that Lien and Soong alleged had falsely accused the opposition "pan-blue alliance" of being responsible for the shooting, Hsu noted.
Also, the results of a recount ordered by the Taiwan High Court last year supported the re-election of Chen and Lu, he added.
The Chen-Lu ticket won the election by a slim margin of only 29,518 votes, or 0.228 percent of the more than 13 million ballots cast. The recount reduced the margin by nearly 4,000 to 25,563 votes.
Lien and Soong appealed to the Supreme Court after their claim was rejected by the Taiwan High Court Nov. 4 last year.
The other case filed by Lien and Soong to annul the presidential election was also rejected by the Taiwan High Court Dec. 30. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on that case.
(By Y.F. Low)
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