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Chairman of Taiwan's Central Election Commission resigns

CEC Chairman Chin In-chin stepped down Sunday afternoon after criticism that the election was poorly managed

Former CEC Chairman Chen In-chin speaks to press early Sunday, Nov. 25

Former CEC Chairman Chen In-chin speaks to press early Sunday, Nov. 25 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In the aftermath of Taiwan’s nine-in-one elections held Nov. 24, public dissatisfaction with the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) handling of Saturday’s election process has led to the resignation of the CEC chairman.

Late Sunday afternoon, Executive Spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka announced that CEC Chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) had tendered his resignation from the position, and that it had been accepted by Premier William Lai.

Before the polls had even closed on Saturday evening, voters were already voicing serious dissatisfaction with the long wait lines to enter many polling stations.

Some voters, as well as candidates, expressed anger at the CEC for posting results too early in the afternoon as many voters had yet to cast their ballots. With access to the incoming vote tallies using their smartphones as they waited, some argue this may have unfairly influenced the decision of many voters.

The KMT candidate for Taipei Mayor Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), who lost to incumbent Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), has already filed a lawsuit to challenge the election results, citing flaws observed during the voting and vote counting process.

Chairman of Taiwan's Central Election Commission resigns
Unsuccessful KMT candidate for Taipei Mayor Ting Shou-chung will file a lawsuit (CNA Image)

Delays in counting the votes across Taiwan led many to criticize a lack of adequate preparation by the CEC, given the exceptionally high level of voter turnout on Saturday.

Polling stations were to officially begin reporting results at 4:00 p.m., however some polling stations did not submit their ballot counts until 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 25.

The official announcement concluding the election was not made by the CEC Chairman until 3:50 a.m., reports CNA.

At that time Chen said the high number of referendums this election, ten in total, had delayed the vote-counting process, for which he apologized. When asked if he took responsibility for the delay, Chen said he would review the situation.

Executive Yuan Spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka remarked that managing the elections is a very difficult process, and that the administration recognized the need to review and improve the election process. She also said that this experience would provide the CEC with a basis for improving organizational practices for future elections.

In his resignation letter to Premier Lai, Chen In-chin said that the high number of referendums which demanded attention from voters caused unavoidable delays, given the circumstances and resources available.

He also stressed that the commission and election workers were under increased pressure because of the ten referendums, which had only been approved for national vote in early-October.

Chen said that he took responsibility for the delays and inconvenience caused to voters while offering his resignation. He also praised the Taiwanese people for their civic engagement and high level of participation in these elections, and also expressed his gratitude the election’s volunteer staff of over 295,000 for their work.

The content of Chen’s resignation letter (in Mandarin) can be viewed here.