Thu, Jul 07, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Majority believe Lee indictment a political move: poll

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

A majority of respondents in a recent survey said the timing of the indictment of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) on corruption charges last week was politically motivated.

However, some respondents to the poll conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also said that if Lee were found guilty — which would make him the second democratically elected president to go to prison — it could have an impact on their support for DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the January election.

CONTRARY

The responses somewhat contradicted comments by DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) that downplayed the impact of the indictment on the January elections.

Chen said the impact on Tsai’s prospects were difficult to analyze given the razor-thin margin between her and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election, in recent media polls.

“The entire incident is still taking shape and it is not yet clear whether it will result in any sort of decisive implications for Tsai,” Chen said.

The poll showed that overall, 5.3 percent of respondents believed that support for Tsai would take a hit if Lee were found guilty, given the close relations between the two. More significantly, however, a breakdown by supporters showed that 82.1 percent of pan-blue voters said Tsai would not be affected if Lee were found guilty.

The former president, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, is also the spiritual leader of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, which maintains close relations with the DPP. Lee has endorsed Tsai’s bid for president.

TIMING

The DPP survey, conducted on Friday and Monday, shows that 52 percent of respondents and 78.3 percent from self-professed Tsai supporters believed the indictment was timed to affect the elections.

Lee was charged last month with siphoning US$7.8 million from secret diplomatic funds to establish a private think tank when he was in office between 1988 and 2000. He has maintained his innocence, calling the allegations baseless.

The DPP survey polled 1,028 voters and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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