What’s Chinese for ‘Hanging Chad’

Taiwan President Wins Election; Opposition Balks

Taiwan President Chen Shui- bian won re-election to a second term a day after he was wounded by gunshots while campaigning. He defeated Nationalist Party leader Lien Chan by a quarter of a percentage point.

The Nationalists claimed the election was unfair and said they won’t accept result. “We will ask the court to void the election,” Lien told a crowd of his supporters at his campaign headquarters in Taipei. He said circumstances surrounding the shootings that slightly wounded Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were “suspicious” and had affected the vote.

The Nationalists’ refusal to accept the result of the island’s third direct election of a president may cast doubts on the maturity of Taiwan’s political institutions.

“Chaos will persist for awhile, because the election result is amazingly close,” said Phil Chen, a fund manager at Grand Cathay Securities Investment Trust Co., which manages $1.9 billion in assets. “A high number of invalid votes may have caused some doubts.”

Chen had 6.47 million votes to Lien’s 6.44 million, the Election Commission said. The commission said 337,297 votes were invalid, 11 times the vote gap separating both candidates. Turnout among the island’s 16.5 million registered voters was 80.3 percent.

Making matters worse, the elderly Jewish voters all inexplicably voted for Pat Buchanan.

This doesn’t surprise me given the timing of the election vis-a-vis yesterday’s assassination attempt. Still, Chen was badly lagging in the polls before the incident.

Hat tip: Steven Taylor

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. M. Murcek says:

    How’s this square with French involvement in Chinese naval exercises?

    Digging in their heels against America’s plans for the Middle East was a failure.

    Trying to choose the winner of the Taiwanese elections appears to have failed.

    Damned if zey do, and damned if zey don’t…

  2. Damn you, James, for stealing my Bush v. Gore in Taipei thoughts. Of course, if China finally gets around to reporting the elections — and I can tell you from firsthand experiences that nobody here seems to know what happened in Taiwan — they will say that voters rejected Chen’s referenda and nearly voted him out of office, which is basically true.