Tue, Dec 08, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Yilan’s election commission mulls fining Chairman Ma

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH STAFF WRITER

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should be fined NT$500,000 in his capacity as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman for citing opinion polls within 10 days of an election, the Yilan County Election Commission monitoring committee said yesterday.

The committee submitted its suggestion to the commission yesterday, which will make a decision today.

Article 53 of the Election and Recall Act (選舉罷免法) prohibits individuals and political parties from reporting, publishing, commenting on or quoting the results of opinion polls in the 10 days before an election.

On Nov. 25, speaking at a KMT Central Standing Committee meeting in Yilan County, Ma cited an opinion poll as indicating that the race in Yilan would be tight and party members should step up campaign efforts. The next day, the KMT apologized on behalf of Ma and said he was not trying to influence the election.

KMT Secretary-General Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) said Ma had not realized that there were less than 10 days until the election. Chan also said Ma did not break the law because his comments were made at a KMT meeting, not a public event.

When asked for comment yesterday, KMT Spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) said the party would respect and accept the commission’s decision.

In other news, Hualien District prosecutors yesterday said they had solid evidence that a candidate who won a township chief election bought votes and would therefore seek to have his election annulled.

Huang Rong-cheng (黃榮成) of the KMT won in Guangfu Township (光復).

Prosecutors said they were writing a petition to have Huang’s victory annulled and would produce an indictment as soon as possible.

Although Huang won the election, he was taken into custody on Saturday over vote-buying allegations. Until then, Huang had been the only candidate in the township who was not in detention. His two rivals for township chief, Chen Wen-kuang (陳文光) and Lin Yuan-jui (林元瑞), also of the KMT, are also being detained on suspicion of vote-buying.

Prosecutors had sought to detain Huang on Thursday, but the court allowed him to go free on bail of NT$100,000. The prosecutors later appealed, presenting additional evidence, and received permission to detain Huang on the day of the election.

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