Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) campaign office yesterday took legal action against TV political commentator Hu Chung-hsin (胡忠信), who alleged Hung made a quid pro quo agreement with the party to withdraw from next year’s election in exchange for the legislative speakership.
Hu is the second media personality sued by Hung’s campaign office in a week, after it took action against radio host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) on Saturday for making similar claims.
“With regard to Hu Chung-hsin’s unsubstantiated allegations of a quid pro quo deal between Hung and the KMT, we have entrusted an attorney to take him to court at 9:30am today [yesterday] for spreading false information against a presidential candidate,” campaign office spokesman Lee Chang-chi (李昶志) told a news conference in Taipei.
Lee said Hu’s conduct violated Article 90 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), which stipulates a maximum jail term of five years for a person who “diffuses rumor or spreads false information ... for the purpose of making a candidate elected or not elected.”
He reiterated Hung’s determination to continue campaigning until the election.
Lee was referring to Hu’s comments on a political TV talk show on Friday last week, in which he quoted a member of the KMT’s higher echelons as saying that Hung had demanded that the party offer her the legislative speakership and severance pay in exchange for her voluntary withdrawal from next year’s Jan. 16 election.
Lee also dismissed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung’s (莊瑞雄) claims on another TV talk show on Thursday last week that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) had expressed his doubts in front of him as to whether Hung would quit the presidential race.
“I ran into Wang earlier today [Thursday] at a high-speed rail station and he told me he was on his way to campaign for someone. Then I asked him who that someone was, the KMT’s presidential or legislative candidate, he replied: ‘Of course not, a legislative candidate,’” Chuang said on the show.
The lawmaker said that when he inquired as to why Wang did not campaign for the KMT’s presidential candidate, the speaker said: “Who knows if Hung will campaign until the day of the election?”
“Given that Wang has specifically said that he had not said such a thing, it is apparent that all of these allegations are simply fictitious rumors,” Lee said. “Hung has been through thick and thin in her campaign for the top office. She will persist to the end.”
Asked to comment on the lawsuit, Hu said that if President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Wang were to be summoned to testify in court, it would become clear that everything he said was well-founded.
Hu also urged Hung to “stop fooling around,” saying legal action was not the answer to everything.
“It is my understanding that most of the KMT’s heavyweights, including Ma, Wu, Wang and Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), aspire to see Hung withdraw from the election, but she has firmly insisted on running,” he said.
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