The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday warned of prevalent vote buying in central and southern Taiwan and the possibility of election-eve incidents today, urging authorities to step up investigations and security measures.
While voter turnout is regarded as one of the three key factors in the outcome of tomorrow’s presidential and legislative elections, vote buying and possible incidents pose greater concern, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference.
Media reports of suspected vote buying were alarming and worrisome, Chen said, citing the case of Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) legislative candidate in Greater Kaohsiung’s First District.
Chung’s 50 campaigners were investigated on Wednesday for allegedly buying votes for NT$500.
Vote buying appears to be widespread in central and southern Taiwan, which the KMT has designated “crucial constituencies,” Chen said, calling on the judiciary to be proactive in its investigations of the allegations in those regions.
DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also raised the issue on the campaign trail, saying in Taoyuan that there had been rumors of vote buying in which the presidential and the legislative elections were being “bundled.”
“If the rumors are true, it would be heartbreaking. If votes can be bought ... if the presidency can be bought, that would be the biggest disgrace for Taiwan and the -saddest thing that could happen to our democracy,” Tsai said.
The DPP also expressed concern over possible incidents prior to election day that might have an impact on the polls, such as the shooting of Sean Lien (連勝文), a son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), on the eve of the special municipality elections in November 2010.
The incident was regarded by many analysts and observers as a determining factor in the outcome of one of the hotly contested elections, in which the KMT won three of the five mayoral seats.
“The last thing we want to see is a repeat of the 2010 shooting incident,” DPP spokesperson Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) said.
Kang urged the National Security Bureau, which is charged with protecting the candidates, to increase its security for candidates, their families and senior politicians.
She also called on the media to refrain from sensational reporting, which could rile voters and incite conflict if an incident does occur.