Taiwan’s Leader Wins Election; Tally Is Disputed [NYT]

TAIPEI, Taiwan, March 20 — President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan was declared to have won a second term by a razor-thin margin on Saturday, but the opposition Nationalist Party called for the election to be annulled and suggested that the president might have staged an 11th-hour assassination attempt to get votes.

I’ve dispatched emails to my Taipei correspondents and received the first response last night. Joe Zagorski, who has lived in Taiwan since the last U. S. presidential election and speaks Chinese fluently, reports the following:

Ai ya!

What a crazy deal!

I have one friend, a KMT supporter (educated and intelligent, I can’t figure out what she sees in the KMT,) she was very bummed out about it, didn’t really say much except she thought the election should definetely be postponed. So, she evidently felt it would be a big boost for the incumbent to get shot in the gut.

I have another close friend, a radio announcer who is an enthusiastic supporter of Chen Shui Bian and the greens (not to be mistaken with the Green Party a la Nader) and she was nothing short of outraged, immediately suspected Beijing was behind it, and she is convinced the shit is gonna hit the fan now.

Me… I guess I’m not expecting the worst. I would say that it is very very serious to have the president of the country shot the day before elections… on the other hand, opinions of the people I meet vary from ‘convinced it’s China,’ all the way to ‘it’s a play to get a sympathy vote and he had himself shot.’

I am reserving judgement until they find out who done it. Actually, I have a sixth sense about this, I’m pretty sure it was Lee Harvey Oswald…

The KMT are the Nationalists, and the Greens Joe refers to are the Democratic Progressives, the party of the victorious incumbent.

The reasons that the idea the assassination attempt might be faked are straightforward: the wounded candidates were so slightly hurt that they were back in public less than eight hours after the shooting and the hospital where the candidates were taken is said to be under the control of close political allies of the wounded candidates.

The NYT story goes on to note that Mr. Chen, the victorious incumbent, has made election-eve claims of assassination attempts in the past. The second page of the online story includes a detailed accounting of the numerous odd circumstances surrounding the shooting.