Wed, Nov 12, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Lien family tops vote for ‘dominant political families’

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Lai Chung-chiang, left, and Urda Yen, both of the Taiwan Inversion movement, yesterday hold a news conference in Taipei to discuss the results of a survey of the top 10 politically connected families in the nation.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

The Lien family — which includes Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) and his father, former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) — finished first in a poll to pick the “top 10 dominant political families in Taiwan,” the Taiwan Inversion movement said yesterday.

The group announced the results at a Taipei news conference.

About 1,000 people participated in the survey from Nov. 2 to Sunday, with two-thirds of the participants voting online, and the rest casting their ballots at a rally held by several civic groups on Nov. 2.

Respondents were asked to rank 22 families with a history of political involvement who also have members running for office in the Nov. 29 elections.

The Wu family — which includes Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚), his brother, Taipei City Councilor Wu Chih-kang (吳志剛), and their father, former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) — was ranked second.

The Yen family from Greater Taichung was ranked third. It includes former Non-partisan Solidarity Union legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標); his son, Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恒), who replaced him in a by-election after he was incarcerated for illegal gun possession and other charges; and his daughter, Yen Li-ming (顏莉敏), who is running in the Nov. 29 polls to succeed her brother.

Other families in the top 10 included those of former Yunlin County commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味), New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁).

Members of Taiwan Inversion said many other families held what they termed hereditary control over local politics through political factions, yet avoided media scrutiny because they were less well-known to the public.

“When political families gain hegemony in local politics, it is exceptionally difficult for young people with political ideals to compete with the abundant political resources of such families,” Taiwan Inversion member Urda Yen (嚴婉玲) said.

Yen cited the Wei (魏) family in Hualien, which was ranked No. 10, and has three brothers running for posts in elections. The family has a long record of vote-buying and other criminal charges, Yen said.

Regional political parties should be established so long-standing local organizations can participate in politics and receive subsidies, she said, adding that proportional representation should be used to elect city and county council members to ensure that candidates from smaller parties can be elected.

At a conference on electoral reform later in the day, Taiwan Citizen Union president Fan Yun (范雲) said the threshold for Taiwanese parties to receive public subsidies requires that they win 5 percent of the vote, but this should be lowered to 2 percent to aid smaller parties.

Sean Lien’s campaign spokesperson Chien Chen-yu (錢震宇) questioned the motive for conducting such a survey ahead of the elections.

“The issues that these groups are discussing do nothing to help the residents of Taipei,” Chien said. “We see the timing of such a news conference as an act of electoral maneuvering.”

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