Sat, Mar 02, 2002 - Page 3 News List

KMT comes away with landslide in local polls

ELECTIONS The party took 19 speakerships and 13 vice speakerships, while the DPP finished with only two vice speakerships in Ilan and Kinmen counties

STAFF WRITER

The KMT won by a landslide in yesterday's elections for city and county council leaders, taking 19 speakerships and 13 vice speakerships out of 23 cities and counties, including the two outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu.

After being sworn into office yesterday morning, incoming councilors who won seats on Jan. 26 cast their ballots for council leaders.

The DPP snatched just two vice speakerships in Ilan and Kinmen counties. The remaining four speakerships and eight vice speakerships went to councilors with no political affiliation.

In the run-up to yesterday's elections, bribery-related rumors had been circulating widely.

To protest election-related corruption, 10 DPP councilors in Tainan City collectively withdrew from yesterday's voting.

In a similar case, Chen Ming-chao (陳明朝), who was running for council speaker in Miaoli County, and 14 other councilors also refused to vote.

Council speakerships and vice speakerships have long been hotly contested positions. Bribes for votes reportedly range between NT$5 million and NT$20 million.

A Chinese-language report quoted unnamed sources as saying bribes in yesterday's voting could be high because council speakers and vice speakers serve on city and county planning commissions, where they make decisions affecting property development.

In the elections, Su Nan-cheng (蘇南成) became the focus of public discussion.

Su, who was defeated in the Tainan City mayoral election on Dec. 1, bounced back to win a seat as a Tainan City councilor in January. But he got just one vote in his bid for council speaker.

Among the majority of male councilors, four female newly elected leaders have attracted media attention.

Tsai Kuei-szu (蔡貴絲) -- wife of former Chiayi City Farmers' Association chairman and gangland figure Hsiao Teng-shih (蕭登獅) -- and Liu Chen Chao-ling (劉陳昭玲), were elected as council speakers in Chiayi City and Penghu County respectively.

Lu Shu-mei (陸淑美) from Kaohsiung County and Kuo Hsiu-chu (郭秀珠) from Tainan County became new vice speakers.

The KMT is satisfied with the results of the elections, KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) said yesterday.

Lin told reporters that the results indicate that the KMT continues to enjoy popular grassroots support, unaffected by the transfer of political power following the party's defeat in the March 1, 2000, presidential election.

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