DPP takes legal action over election-eve shooting

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday decided to take legal action to void the results of “unfair” mayoral races in three special municipalities because of an election-eve shooting. DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said the party already had its lawyers file appeals with the courts in Taipei, New Taipei, and Taichung to have the mayoral elections in the three cities annulled. He said the DPP’s main purpose is to find out the truth behind the shooting, which saw former Vice President Lien Chan’s son, Sean, shot and seriously injured while stumping for a ruling Kuomintang candidate. He said that Kuomintang (KMT) campaign team and many of its legislators insinuated that the DPP was behind the shooting, with the accusations widely spread through the media in the run-up to the voting. “This practically constituted unfair competition,” said Cheng. The lawsuit is not meant to fan “populist sentiments” or to create conflicts, but if the truth is unknown and the case closed inconclusively, society will see confrontation and collapse, the spokesman said. The DPP lost in all three cities’ mayoral elections, but managed to win in Kaohsiung and Tainan. It remains unknown how many voters in the five municipalities had their decisions swayed by the shooting. The gunman that attacked Sean Lien was caught right at the scene, but investigators have yet to determine the motive. The assailant claims that he misidentified his target, but the victim, which has recovered fast despite the severity of his injury, does not believe it was a mistake. But many DPP supporters have also claimed that Lien staged the shooting. The DPP has demanded the Legislature set up an independent truth-finding commission to investigate the case, but KMT legislators have blocked the motion.

The KMT said that the DPP is not really interested in the truth, but is actually looking for political gains by trying to void the elections. “The DPP leaders are trying to find an excuse for its election losses,” said KMT spokesman Su Chun-pin. If the shooting had indeed influenced the elections, the DPP should have been seeking the mayoral races in all five municipalities, not only three of them, said Su. Sean Lien, a member of the KMT’s Central Committee, would welcome any action to pursue the truth behind the assault, but he demands an apology from those DPP members who have made “vicious” remarks against him over the shooting, his aide said. Meanwhile, prosecutors in Kaohsiung launched a second wave of legal actions trying to annul the election of three members of the southern city’s council, as well as 10 community chiefs, citing vote-buying allegations. The Kaohsiung prosecutors on Thursday already filed similar lawsuits against another four council members and 12 community chiefs.