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Fri, Oct 12, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Bribery charge threatens PFP's election prospects

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Only two days after the People First Party (PFP) tried to boost its electoral prospects by nominating its chairman as a candidate for legislator-at-large, scandal threatened to envelop the party yesterday when former Miaoli County legislator Robert Hsu (徐成焜), alleged that the party asked him to pay NT$1 billion in exchange for getting nominated.

The PFP finalized its slate of nominees for legislator-at-large last Saturday, listing 26 candidates with Hsu at number 11. Hsu then turned down the nomination which he evidently got for free in the end anyway.

On Tuesday, the party nominated James Soong (宋楚瑜), the party's chairman, to replace Hsu as a candidate.

Hsu yesterday said Soong had said in July that the party would nominate Hsu as one of the legislator-at-large candidates. Hsu said that, just after Soong made this promise, the party's Secretary General David Chung (鍾榮吉) asked him on Sept. 30 to donate NT$1 billion to contribute to the party's election campaign, which Hsu said "shocked and insulted" him.

Chung denied Hsu's accusation but conceded that he had met Hsu "for a chat" at the end of September. Chung said that it was natural for him to meet regularly with party members, and that all he had discussed with Hsu was prospects in Miaoli County for the elections but that money had not been mentioned at all. Hsu used to represent Miaoli County in the Legislative Yuan.

In a bid to prevent the incident from casting a dark cloud over the party's election campaign, Hsieh Kung-ping (謝公秉), the PFP's spokesman, sought to clarify matters at a press conference yesterday.

"To the party, donations and the party's rankings of legislator-at-large nominations have nothing to do with each other. The party was seeking donations from Hsu, but that doesn't mean that his donation was a condition of his nomination. We hope that Hsu can understand the realities," Hsieh said.

Hsieh added that the party appreciates what Hsu had done for the party and hopes he can rejoin the party soon.

Hsu is not the only PFP figure displeased about the party's legislator-at-large nominations. Shaw Chong-hai (邵宗海) a former aide to Soong, resigned from the party after failing to win a nomination. Wang Tien-ching(王天競), a sitting PFP legislator who had been considered by some as likely to be nominated also failed to do so. On Sunday he officially registered as an independent legislative candidate.

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