Thu, Oct 18, 2007 - Page 1 News List

PFP sues premier over UN campaign

NOT FAIR? Similarities in the Cabinet's and the DPP's UN campaigns prompted a PFP legislator to accuse the DPP of using public funds for campaign activities.

By Flora Wang and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip Wang Tuoh gestures at a press conference in Taipei yesterday. Responding to criticism of the Taiwan Post Co's use of the ``UN for Taiwan'' slogan, Wang said that the post office had used slogans such as ``Speed up the process of unification with China under the Three Principles of the People'' under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

The People First Party (PFP) caucus yesterday filed a lawsuit against Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and two other Cabinet officials, saying that the Cabinet's UN campaign violated the Referendum Law (公投法) and Election and Recall Law of Civil Servants (公務人員選舉罷免法).

PFP Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) told a press conference that the slogan, logo and theme of the Cabinet's UN campaign were "identical" to those of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) referendum bid on seeking UN membership using the name "Taiwan."

The referendum bid, he said, had become the main focus of the DPP's presidential campaign.

"In other words, they have also violated the Election and Recall Law of Civil Servants because they have spent public funds and resources on campaigning for a certain party," Chang said.

The other two Cabinet officials sued by the caucus were Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) and Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳).

Chang said Article 13 of the Referendum Law stated that government agencies are not allowed to undertake activities related to referendum proposals, and that officials who violate the law could face jail sentences of between six months and three years.

"Before a referendum, the Referendum Law is meant to ensure that the people can enjoy their rights to express their preference freely," Chang said.

In response, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) yesterday said at a separate setting that the government would push ahead with its campaign for UN membership for the nation under the name "Taiwan," adding that it would stamp mail with the logo of the UN bid.

Chen said a majority of the Taiwanese wanted to see the nation become a member of the UN.

"It is also the consensus of the governing and opposition parties and it is government policy to reach that goal," Chen said. "It makes perfect sense to promote government policy on various occasions and through different approaches."

Stamping domestic and international mail with the logo of the UN membership bid is one of them, he said, and the initiative should continue.

Chen was referring to allegations by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers on Tuesday that the Taiwan Post Co had violated administrative impartiality by stamping envelopes with the logo for the UN bid.

DPP legislative caucus whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) said yesterday that stamping mail with the logo did not violate any regulations.

"I am very confused as to why our pan-blue friends are so angry," Wang said.

He said that, under the KMT government, the post office had stamped slogans such as "Speed up the process of unification with China under the Three Principles of the People" and "Fight off communism" on mail.

"So why is it that when the KMT did it, that was okay, but what we're doing is wrong?" Wang said. "Don't you think that's a double standard?"

Meanwhile, KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) yesterday accused Vice Finance Minister Lee Ruey-tsang (李瑞倉) of requiring ministry staffers to collect signatures for the DPP's referendum proposal.

The proposal must meet a second signature quota of 5 percent of the nation's eligible voters -- 830,000 people -- in order to take place.

Kuo said at a press conference that she had a friend who is a public official, who had been granted paid leave by her supervisor to travel home to the south and collect signatures from friends.

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