Dirty tricks alleged in Taiwan

Updated: 2006-12-11 09:26

The Democratic Progressive Party and the Kuomintang split the weekend mayoral elections in Taiwan's two biggest cities, but one race was so close that the loser asked for a recount and charged his opponent with dirty tricks.

KMT candidate Hau Long-bin beat his DPP rival Frank Hsieh by polling 54 percent of the votes to become the new mayor of Taipei. And the DPP's Chen Chu narrowly won the race for mayor of the southern city of Kaohsiung over the KMT's Huang Chun-ying by a margin of only 1,114 out of 767,800 ballots cast.

In other votes, the KMT won 24 of 52 seats in the council election in Taipei, with the DPP taking 18, the People First Party two, New Party four, Taiwan Solidarity Union two and nonpartisans two.

The KMT was victorious in the council election in Kaohsiung, winning 17 seats out of 44. The DPP took 15, People First Party four, Taiwan Solidarity Union one and non-partisans seven.

Ballot boxes in Kaohsiung were sealed yesterday after the KMT candidate for mayor demanded a recount and lashed out at what he said was his opponent's dirty tricks.

Huang said he was upset with the DPP's "mean and dirty" campaign and filed a lawsuit to have the ballot boxes sealed yesterday morning, Taiwan media reported.

Just hours before the polls opened on Saturday morning, Chen and his supporters held a news conference at which they produced a videotape they contended showed Huang involved in election bribery.

Huang supporters immediately questioned the veracity of the tape, saying the last minute allegation was an underhanded attempt to sway voters after public opinion polls prior to election day showed Huang was leading.

"I am not a sore loser. I just don't want to be treated unjustly," Huang said yesterday, after saying the election was invalid.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said the party agreed with Huang's decision to ask for a recount.

"The DPP has resorted to every possible means to win the election - means that are despised by the public," Ma said.

Chin Yi, a KMT legislator, said KMT candidates won elections for Kaohsiung city council by comfortable margins and should have won the mayor's race as well.

Chin said there were a number of irregularities in the vote count. Among them were 6,000 "spoiled" ballots, an unusually high number, and it took too long to announce the final result, he said.

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