The inauguration ceremony of the mayors and city councilmen of Kaohsiung and Taipei City took place on Wednesday with the elections for the two city councils' speakers and deputy speakers taking place immediately afterwards. Taipei's election was the less complicated of the two and did not result in much controversy. The election in Kaohsiung, however, sparked major interest, inciting public skepticism toward both the opposition and ruling camps.
\nIn the elections held earlier this month, the DPP became the biggest party in the Kaohsiung City Council. But, right before the election of council speaker and deputy speaker, the DPP's council caucus did something that took everyone by surprise -- it passed a resolution supporting the election of independent councilman Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄) as the new speaker.
\nMany DPP members and supporters found it difficult to accept this, since Chu is a defendant in several ongoing criminal lawsuits. Realizing just how serious a matter this was, the DPP's Central Standing Committee (CSC) officially passed a resolution to rescind the caucus' earlier appeal.
\nThe DPP reiterated that anyone who had been implicated in vote-buying, corruption or other major financial scandals and then became the target of government investigations, could never become a candidate supported by the caucus. Although the candidates nominated by the CSC were defeated and Chu was elected speaker, the DPP managed to save a great deal of face as a result of its timely decision.
\nRumors of vote-buying for this election had been circulating for some time. Reportedly, the price for each vote in the speaker election was as high as NT$10 million, while the deputy speaker election was billed at NT$3 million. Moreover, the payments were to be made in installments both before and after the election.
\nSimilar rumors about the Taipei City Council elections also circulated and, as a result, Premier Yu Shyi-kun especially instructed Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (
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