Kuomintang bet files suit after razor-thin loss

Top News | Stella Wong 26 Nov 2018

Kuomintang candidate Ting Shou-chung has filed a legal challenge over Taipei's mayoral election results after losing to incumbent mayor Ko Wen-je by 3,254 votes.

Ko retained his seat by a razor thin margin of 0.23 percent of the total votes.

He received 580,820 votes, or 41.05 percent, compared to 577,566 votes, or 40.82 percent, for Ting.

Ting questioned the validity of the result, saying people continued voting at some poll stations for three hours on Saturday while other stations were counting votes - as it took a long time for voters to go through all 10 referendum questions.

The concurrent voting and counting meant some voters knew who was leading, which might have affected their choice, Ting said.

He filed a lawsuit claiming the election was invalid and sought to overturn the result.

Taipei District Court ruled Ting will have to pay a cash deposit of NT$4.28 million (HK$1.08 million) within a day to move the recounting procedure forward.

Ko said he did not see any illegal or abnormal situations in the whole election process, but he respected the right of citizens to file a legal challenge. He admitted his slim victory was not as expected and his team will review its performance.

According to Taiwan regulations, if the vote difference between the winning candidate and runner-up is within 0.3 percent, the runner-up can seek a recount.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party suffered a massive loss in city and county seats, prompting President Tsai Ing-wen to resign as party leader and sparking questions over whether she will be able to run for reelection in 2020.

The Beijing-friendly main opposition Kuomintang made gains in the face of China's increasing pressure on the island.

The DPP lost the mayoral election to the Nationalist party in the southern port city of Kaohsiung - where it had held power for 20 years - after Chen Chi-mai offered his congratulations to Han Kuo-yu. The Nationalists also defeated the DPP in the central city of Taichung, where mayor Lin Chia-lung conceded defeat to Lu Shiow-yen.

Observers said the DPP's shock defeat in local polls was an indictment of policies they felt had not helped ordinary people.

Although GDP is rising in Taiwan, voters say they are not seeing the benefits and many have been incensed by cuts to pensions and public holidays.

Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese Studies at King's College London, said: "This is not a wholehearted endorsement of anyone else - just a sign of how much like other countries Taiwan now is - divided, very frustrated and looking to protest."

stella.wong@singtaonewscorp.com

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