Lien Chan and James Soong, leaders of the Kuomintang and People First Party coalition, joined their supporters in the ongoing sit-in near the “presidential palace” in Taipei on March 25, 2004. The demonstration has continued for more than 100 hours so far.
Shortly after the preliminary results of the election were announced on March 20, the opposition coalition of the Kuomintang and People First Party questioned its legitimacy. Chen Shui-bian, head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the election by a razor-thin margin. The opposition coalition is questioning several aspects of the election and circumstances surrounding it.
The protesters are demanding a recount and the truth about the shooting of Taiwanese leaders Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu on the eve of the election on March 19.
Chen Shui-bian said Wednesday he was willing to meet Lien Chan and James Soong on condition that the protesters disperse.
Demonstrators took to the streets on the night of March 20 in Taipei, Kaohsiung and other major cities in Taiwan, and gathered in front of parliament despite cold weather and rain.
Lien reiterated his appeal to Taiwan’s “election committee” not to make public the winner of the election as scheduled on Friday as disputes over the election remain unresolved.
Lien’s Kuomintang supporters decided to hold a large rally in protest.
Chen Shui-bian reportedly won only 29,000 more votes than the opposition coalition, while some 330,000 ballots were rejected.
(People’s Daily March 26, 2004)