Sat, Sep 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

CEC finds irregularities in KMT proposals’ signatures

‘INEVITABLE’:The party questioned the timing of the disclosure, while KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih said the commission could just remove the invalid forms

By Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang, left, KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin, second left, and other party members load boxes with signatures for three referendum proposals onto a truck in front of the party’s headquarters in Taipei on Monday.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has found irregularities in the signatures submitted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for its three referendum proposals and would report them to prosecutors, commission Chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) said on Thursday.

The KMT on Monday delivered more than 1.45 million signatures supporting its referendum proposals to reduce thermal power generation, halt the construction or expansion of coal-fired power plants — including Shenao Power Plant (深澳電廠) — and maintaining the ban on imports of agricultural and food products from five Japanese prefectures that was imposed following the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster of March 11, 2011.

The proposals were initiated by KMT Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), KMT Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) and KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) respectively.

However, the commission said that it had found signs of irregularities, including cases in which multiple signatures were signed using the same color ink or handwriting, adding that some of the signatures differed in size, but the handwriting appeared to belong to the same person.

While checking the data for the first-threshold signatures, household registration offices also found that about 1 percent of the signatures in each of the three proposals belonged to people who are dead, an unnamed commission member said, adding that due to the large number of such cases, it is unlikely that those people passed away after signing the proposal.

Based on experience, the source said they believed that the signatures might have been copied from lists of party workers and members.

In the first-threshold signatures, the referendum proposal initiated by Lu included the names of 73 deceased people, while the ones initiated by Lin and Hau included 113 and 165 dead people respectively, commission data showed.

Including the signatures of deceased people is forgery and contravenes the Referendum Act (公民投票法), Chen said, adding that the commission would remove those signatures.

After the commission finishes checking the second-threshold signatures, it would forward evidence of alleged irregularities to prosecutors, he said.

Commission members are to discuss whether this would affect the implementation of the referendums, he added.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said that the signatures were gathered by party members or members of the public who filled the forms at signature-collecting stations or took them home for family members to sign.

It is odd for the commission to be discussing this issue now, as it has been three months since the KMT gathered signatures to meet the first threshold, he said.

“Is the commission under pressure to block the KMT’s referendum proposals?” Hung asked, urging the commission not to engage in “political manipulation.”

Denying the forgery allegations, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said that it was “inevitable” that the names of dead people would be included in the signatures, saying that the commission could just remove those forms.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang

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