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Opposition's Second Election Suit Rejected

On Thursday, Taiwan's "high court" rejected the opposition's second lawsuit to nullify the highly disputed March 20 election that led to Chen Shui-bian's reelection.

Cheng Ya-ping, the "presiding judge," said the complaint had been overruled because no systematic fraud was found.

The opposition can appeal the decision within the next 20 days, she was quoted as saying by Taiwan media.

The ruling came after the rejection of a separate Kuomintang (KMT) petition in November upheld Chen's victory.

Opposition challenger Lien Chan, also chairman of the KMT, has alleged that the shooting during the campaign might have been staged to solicit sympathy votes for Chen.

The opposition launched its first legal bid to annul the results and demand a full vote recount on March 29, which was rejected by the "high court" on November 4. They are appealing the decision on the basis that election irregularities had not been thoroughly investigated.

In Thursday's case, filed by Lien on April 5, the opposition sought to hold a new vote. Opposition attorneys had alleged that the election was tarnished by widespread vote rigging and other irregularities.

They also accused the "central election commission" of violating the law by not suspending the election after security forces were put on alert following the shooting.

Lawmaker Chiu Yi from the opposition People First Party, the KMT's ally, claimed "the ruling shows Taiwan's judicial system is manipulated by politics."

(China Daily December 31, 2004)

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