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Dec 18, 2007

one-step, two-step three-step four...

Yesterday during questioning at the Legislative Yuan, CEC Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (鄧天祐) was asked if the election will either be halted or postponed if any county which uses the two-step voting system, though I don't really know how he answered for sure (I presume in the negative due to the follow up question). He was further asked if the counties using the two-step voting system would be declared valid or invalid, to which he said, "They would probably be valid."

This caused predictably conflicting responses from the two parties. KMT presidentialy candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) instantly declared this to be the right interpretation. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) predictably said that the CEC decides the procedure, that they've picked the one-step voting system and that any county that used a two-step system would be violating the law and the election would be invalid there. Chen said there could not be two election systems for one country.

Today, to his credit, CEC Chairman Chang Jeng-shyuang (張政雄) clarified that by law, a full meeting of the CEC alone that must formally decide if an election is valid or invalid, and must do so within one week of the election. He said CEC Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu's comments were his own opinion and he could not speak for the entire CEC.

Personally, I'm not sure how the CEC will have to handle this. On one hand, they can't simply let themselves be ignored and then retroactively say, "oh well, we'll have to count it is valid because that's better than having riots in 18 counties." On the other ... well, I don't want riots in 18 counties and another election that the KMT can pretend is somehow corrupted. So hopefully this can be negotiated in some way before the election and be very clear.

The KMT is likely to be very emboldened by this split within CEC opinion and will probably use Teng's statement as leverage to insist that the CEC clearly state before the election that a two-step system will be valid. Very smart politically.

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