Sun, Nov 23, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP says KMT should apologize for buying votes

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator yesterday said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should apologize for its former "black gold" politics practices after the father of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son-in-law recently disclosed that he had been forced to conduct vote-buying activities in previous elections during the KMT's administration.

Chao Yu-chu (趙玉柱), the father of Chen's son-in-law, revealed on Thursday that, during his past tenure as the principal of an elementary school in Tainan County, he had been forced to take part in KMT vote-buying activities while the party had been in power.

DPP Legislator Charles Chiang (江昭儀) said yesterday that the KMT should face up to its previous vote-buying activities, as Chao's confession was hard evidence of the KMT's history of election bribery. He urged KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to apologize for the party's wrongdoings and to help eradicate this illegal practice for good.

Chiang yesterday held a press conference with a resident of Changhua County who had successfully exposed a KMT vote-buying scam in a previous election.

More than 200 people were implicated in the ensuing scandal.

"Chao spoke the truth about KMT corruption. Instead of admitting to the wrongdoings, the party said it never asked elementary school heads to bribe people. Lien should apologize to the public," Chiang said.

Chao had been an elementary school principal for 20 years. He retired from the Ta Chiou Elementary School in Tainan County in February last year. His son Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) married the president's daughter Chen Hsin-yu (陳幸妤) in 2001.

Speaking at the establishment of a local support group for Chen's reelection bid on Thursday, Chao said that he had been forced to join the KMT before he could be appointed as the school's principal.

He said that, during elections, local elementary school principals were asked to become "vote-buying captains" to deliver bribes for the KMT's candidates, and were allowed to keep any money that was not spent.

Chao said the bribe money usually came from the KMT's headquarters or the KMT-dominated reserve military system.

"I joined the KMT to escape poverty. I've lost my dignity as a school principal and I shouldn't have done so," Chao said.

He said he is not a KMT member anymore.

Chao said that, during the 2000 presidential election, the KMT did not give bribe money directly to local vote captains, but did it by means of subsidies to elementary school heads.

In response to the accusations, KMT spokesperson Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said that Chao should turn himself in and reveal who had asked him to carry out the alleged bribes.

The KMT's Tainan County chap-ter director, Shen Jung-feng (沈榮鋒), filed a libel suit against Chao on Friday, and the Tainan Prosecutors' Office has decided to summon him for questioning soon.

Shen denied that the KMT had ever asked headmasters to buy votes.

Chao Chung-yueh (趙中岳), deputy director of the Tainan Prosecutors' Office, yesterday said pro-secutors would investigate Chao's claims about the presidential election in 2000.

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