Jan 03, 2005

Taiwan poll challenge rejected

Taiwan's High Court has rejected a case brought by the island's opposition parties seeking to nullify the contested presidential poll in March
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The election was narrowly won by President Chen Shui-bian.

It was the second of two legal cases brought by the opposition to challenge the result.

The election was held a day after President Chen and Vice-President Annette Lu were injured in a mysterious shooting incident.

Mr Chen beat his rival by the smallest margin in a vote the opposition claimed was marred by fraud.

For weeks, thousands of opposition supporters mounted daily and sometimes violent protests outside the presidential offices.

Two lawsuits were filed, challenging Mr Chen's win and seeking a nullification of the entire election.

They have now both been thrown out, and a ballot recount also failed to overturn the outcome.

Opposition politicians, though, are still crying foul, suggesting the courts are politically influenced.

They look at Ukraine where a presidential election run-off was ordered after the first vote was marred by fraud - and wonder why the same could not happen in Taiwan.

The reason, say the courts here, is that the opposition failed to provide evidence of systematic fraud.

The Supreme Court is likely to be the final arbiter in this long, drawn-out and highly divisive dispute, but the public has grown weary of the issue.

Dozens, rather than thousands of opposition protesters stood outside the High Court on Thursday.

Source: BBC