Sun, Jul 27, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Hualien-election rivals quarrel over DPP man's pledges


Hualien County commissioner election rivals clashed yesterday following a raft of promises on Friday by DPP candidate You Ying-long (游盈隆), including NT$5,000-a-month subsidies to every local aboriginal settlement chief.

You said he made the promise because he "respects the tribal tradition and wants chiefs to be able to better play their social role."

He also said if he is elected commissioner senior citizens would be given free dentures, with pupils at elementary schools being eligible for free lunches.

But other candidates branded You's promises mere vote buying.

"You's pledge will turn out to be a check you can't cash," said pan-blue spokesperson Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山).

Independent candidate and KMT renegade Wu Kuo-tung (吳國棟)asked, "Where is the money for these promises? The DPP government swears it will arrest people caught bribing in the election. I suggest it arrests You first."

The Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) refused to be drawn yesterday on whether You's promises violate the law, saying only, "Prosecutors will pass judgement on election conduct later."

Yu himself is currently embroiled in a vote-buying scandal. Local media reported on Friday that Yu's ministry ordered local township governments to give subsidies to borough wardens and neighborhood chiefs (鄰里長) under their command.

"It is legal for township governments to do that according to an act passed in the year 2000 when the KMT was still the ruling party, Yu said. "What we want is to give more discretionary powers to township governments."

"They can judge by themselves whether to give subsidies or not," Yu said. "We will not force them to subsidize anyone."

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