Thu, Dec 26, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung shows need to end `black gold,' DPP says

LOSING WITH GRACE?Officials say the party lost both the speakership and vice speakership posts to show that it will not give in to political corruption

By Lin Mei-Chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the DPP failing to secure leading positions on the Kaohsiung City Council, party officials said yesterday's result shows the need to end "black gold" politics.

DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said that as the biggest party on the city council, the DPP gave up its chance to win the vice speaker post because of its refusal to resort to bribery and "black gold" tactics.

Chang expressed regret that two controversial figures were elected as speaker and vice speaker.

The DPP tried to keep its image clean after the party's Central Standing Committee overruled a proposal by its Kaohsiung caucus to support the scandal-ridden independent councilor Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄) to run for election as speaker on Tuesday.

Chu is being prosecuted over allegations of bribery and tax evasion.

On Tuesday night, the party decided to nominate its own members, Kao Tzeng-ying (高宗英) and Chang Ching-chuan (張清泉), and warned that councilors would be expelled from the party if they voted for Chu.

Chu and another independent councilor, Tsai Song-hsiung (蔡松雄), were elected as the speaker and vice speaker, with each receiving 25 votes from the 44-member council.

Abiding by the party's decision, all 14 DPP councilors voted for Kao and Chang and publicly displayed their ballots.

The incident also marked the first time the party's Central Standing Committee rejected a suggestion made by the party's regional caucus, which triggered concern that the DPP was violating its principle of respecting caucus autonomy.

Chang Chun-hsiung said the principle has always been kept in mind, but that it can only be followed when it does not contradict the party's fundamental values.

"The party overruled the caucus' decision not because it had altered its position with respect to caucus autonomy, but because it sought to hold a clean election," Chang Chun-hsiung said.

Reports said that some candidates were offering NT$10 million for a speakership vote and between NT$3 million and NT$5 million for a vice speakership vote.

Chang Chun-hsiung said there isn't any evidence that any of the DPP's city councilors took bribes, but he said the party would support an investigation.

Chang said he does not think the different political agendas of the mayor and city the council speaker will hinder the city's development.

He said this situation has existed for the past four years under DPP Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), but Hsieh's approval rate is still at 60 percent.

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