Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutors grill You for election vow

CAMPAIGN PLEDGE Hualien prosecutors suspect You Ying-lung may be guilty of trying to buy votes when he promised Aboriginal leaders a monthly stipend

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Hualien Prosecutors' Office summoned You Ying-lung (游盈隆), the DPP candidate in the recent Hualien County commissioner by-election, to answer questions about alleged vote-buying during the campaign.

The alleged act of bribery stems from a campaign promise to give a monthly service allowance to the county's Aboriginal chieftains.

You is the second person to be questioned about the affair, following the interrogation of DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) for promising on July 27 to give a monthly NT$5,000 service allowance to the Aboriginal heads to help them with community affairs.

You said yesterday that the prosecutor's order to summon him was unusual and unnecessary as the delivery of campaign policies is a legitimate and reasonable act.

"The campaign platform is public policy in nature. It's sensible, legitimate and reasonable and had been proposed in public as a policy solution. It has nothing to do with election bribery," You said ahead of his talk with prosecutors yesterday.

The former candidate said the so-called charge of "policy vote-buying" was groundless as the term is not legally defined.

"There is no such legal term as `policy vote-buying.' To realize this campaign promise, it requires first that I get elected county commissioner and, second, that the county's administrative agency make budgetary plans for the policy which would have to be approved by the county council," he said.

"Until then, the policy would be processed through legislation. How can this policy be described as a bribe?" You said.

He said he was not the first person to introduce the idea of giving a monthly allowance to Aboriginal chieftains, adding that James Soong (宋楚瑜), former governor of the now defunct Taiwan Provincial Government and now PFP chairman, had introduced this policy in 1997.

Soong unveiled his plan to provide a monthly allowance of NT$2,500 to 193 chiefs of lowland Aboriginal communities. Though the plan was later halted due to the abolishment of the provincial government, many Aboriginal leaders had urged the government to reverse the policy, You said.

"The delivery of this campaign promise is only fair and several candidates in the Hualien County councilor election had made similar promises," You said.

You added that the delivery of campaign platforms is a normal and legal practice in a democratic society and is a constitutional right of citizens.

"The candidates' campaign platforms reflect their perspectives and understanding of their respective constituencies. The merits or disadvantages of these policies should be determined by the public, rather than the judicial authorities -- which would otherwise harm the equally balanced administrative, legislative and judicial branches as structured by the Constitution.

"If judicial authorities are allowed to interfere with candidates' campaign platforms, that would be a step back in our democracy," You said.

This story has been viewed 3335 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top