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Cablegate: Kaohsiung Mayoral Election Lawsuit Decisions: Competing

VZCZCXRO1497
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHIN #1565/01 1940728
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130728Z JUL 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5967
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7022
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1224
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1999
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 5967
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0401
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8269

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001565

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AIT/W, EAP/TC, INR/EAP

FROM AIT KAOHSIUNG BRANCH OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV TW
SUBJECT: Kaohsiung Mayoral Election Lawsuit Decisions: Competing
Appeals

REF: A) 2007 Taipei 1382 B) 2007 Taipei 0520

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

1. (U) Summary: The KMT's Kaohsiung Mayoral candidate, Huang
Chun-ying, will soon appeal the court decision to dismiss his vote
recount lawsuit concerning the December 2006 election. In addition,
Mayor Chen Chu (DPP) will appeal the nullification lawsuit (also
filed by Huang) in which the court, in a controversial decision,
annulled the results of the December 2006 Kaohsiung mayoral
election. End summary.

2. (SBU) On June 15, the Kaohsiung District Court annulled the
results of last December's Kaohsiung mayoral election (see ref A) as
the result of a lawsuit filed by Huang Chun-ying. Simultaneously,
the same court dismissed a separate but related recount lawsuit also
filed by Huang that claimed vote manipulation and fraud (see ref A
and B). Huang told AIT/K that he will appeal the court's recount
decision by July 15. Meanwhile, Mayor Chen Chu's office revealed
that Chen would file her appeal to the nullification lawsuit
decision on July 12.

3. (SBU) According to Taiwan's legal system, appeals do not require
justification and are not limited to reviews of procedural issues in
the lower court. As such, anyone can appeal based on simple
dissatisfaction with the court ruling. An appeals court has the
right and authority to review all facts and evidence presented in
the original case and to reach its own conclusions. In the
above-mentioned lawsuits, the court is supposed to make its rulings
within six months after receiving an appeal. However, extensions
can be made at the judge's discretion. Kaohsiung Vice Mayor Chiu
Tai-san, who is a legal scholar, told AIT/K that he expects these
highly political cases will probably experience delays and run
beyond the allotted six month time frame.

4. (SBU) Vice Mayor Chiu also suggested that Mayor Chen remains
vulnerable in her appeal on the nullification lawsuit. Chiu
explained that most judges and prosecutors, who are not DPP
supporters, feel oppressed because the DPP, ever since its
inception, has continually accused the judicial system of
corruption.

5. (SBU) KMT candidate Huang Chun-ying told AIT/K that 4,907
irregular votes were found in the court's actual recount process.
Since the number of these votes is larger than the narrow margin by
which he lost the mayoral election (only 1171 votes), he is
optimistic his appeal will succeed when the evidence is reviewed by
new judges. Huang stressed to AIT/K that this legal process is a
necessary democratic procedure to clarify election doubts. Huang
said he will complete the legal process and accept the final result,
adding that he has faith in Taiwan's judiciary.

Public Opinion
--------------
6. (SBU) According to Zhan Yuan-hsiung, a senior journalist and
spokesman for the Kaohsiung County Council, the recount lawsuit
filed by Huang (see ref B) was more objective and easier to resolve
in the public's eyes, since it was based on facts and scientific
method. On the other hand, the ruling on the nullification case was
subject to the judge's subjective interpretation of events and the
law.

7. (SBU) Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Lo Chih-ming told
AIT/K that he expects the appeals rulings on both the recount and
nullification lawsuits to be reversed, with Huang winning the
recount appeal and Chen winning the nullification appeal. Lo
believes Huang will lose the nullification case because the original
verdict was based only on indirect evidence, arguing that a
videotape shown on television had affected voters' ability to cast a
free ballot.

Comment
-------
8. (SBU) The outcome of these two election lawsuit appeals will
determine whether a mayoral by-election will be held in Kaohsiung.
If the appeals court actually concludes these cases within the six
month time frame and the results require a by-election, that will
raise the political stakes in Kaohsiung as the by-election could
coincide with either the upcoming January 2008 legislative or the
March 2008 presidential election.

Thiele

TAIPEI 00001565 002 OF 002

Young

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