Sat, May 07, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Subsidies end for vote-bribing officials

CLOSING THE LOOPHOLE:Figures from the Ministry of the Interior showed that over four years the government gave more than NT$14 million to bribing candidates

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) to address what was regarded as a loophole that allowed election candidates whose results were annulled because of bribery to still receive NT$30 in government subsidies for the votes they received.

After the amendment takes effect, candidates will be required to return the full amount of the subsidies to the government if they are found guilty of vote-buying regardless of whether they are elected or not.

According to the act, each candidate is subsidized NT$30 for each ballot they receive beyond one-third of the votes sufficient to win a single-seat constituency or half the votes sufficient to win a multi-seat constituency.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), one of the initiators of the amendment, said the loophole has been exploited because the government had to give subsidies to by-election candidates even when the election was voided because of bribery.

The Ministry of the Interior’s data showed that the government spent more than NT$14 million (US$487,900) over a four-year period on subsidies for candidates whose election results were ruled invalid because of bribery.

The legislature yesterday also passed amendments to the Budget Act (預算法) and the Financial Statement Act (決算法) that will change the number of years government agencies are allowed to leave major construction reserve budgets unused from five to four.

When the period expires, the agencies must return the unused funds to government coffers. -Chinese -Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), who initiated the amendments, estimated that the government would have an extra NT$60 billion available if agencies are only allowed to keep unused funds for four years rather than five years.

Also approved during the legislative session yesterday was an amendment to the Household Registration Act (戶籍法) that will save people time and money in applying for certificates proving the familial relationship between two individuals for the purpose of artificial reproduction, organ donations and inheritance registrations.

Currently, people who need these kinds of certificates are required to obtain household certificate transcripts from their relatives before they can request the certificates.

The new measure, expected to take effect in July, would reduce the amount of paper used to print household certificate transcripts, shorten the amount of time required for applications and avoid careless omissions, director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Household Registration Department Hsieh Ai-ling (謝愛齡) said.

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