Sat, Dec 04, 2004 - Page 3 News List

CEC official in hot water over campaign links


A Central Election Commission (CEC) member resigned yesterday after having been accused of violating the principle of administrative neutrality by being involved in a legislative candidate's campaign.

Chinese-language newspapers reported yesterday that commission member Chiu Kuo-chang (邱國昌) was serving as campaign director-general for Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) candidate David Huang (黃適卓), and had frequented Huang's campaign headquarters.

David Huang is the son of TSU chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文). He is running for a seat in the Taipei South constituency.

Chiu is a TSU official as well as a commission member.

According to commission regulations, its members are not allowed to become campaign staffers for individuals or parties,or promote a candidate in public.

The newspaper reports said Chiu's name appears on Huang headquarters' internal contact list as its director-general, and the headquarters members have addressed him as such.

Chiu's reported links to Huang's campaign raised serious concerns about the neutrality of commission members.

Both Huang and Chiu denied yesterday that Chiu was involved in Huang's campaign in any way.

"Chiu is a TSU official and a good friend of mine. It's only natural that he would come to my headquarters to show concern for my campaign. He's not a member of my campaign team," Huang said.

"Chiu has never appeared on stage to stump for me during my campaign activities, so there should be no concern that he has violated commission regulations," he said.

Huang said Chiu being listed as campaign director-general on a contact list was a mistake by a campaign staffer.

Chiu said although he had not campaigned for Huang that he nevertheless had decided to resign because the criticism from outsiders was good for neither the CEC nor the TSU.

Chiu also said that showing concern -- in private -- for a candidate's campaign was not out of bounds for a CEC member.

"The director-general listed on invitations issued by Huang's headquarters is not me. I have never spoken for Huang on stage during a campaign activity, so I have not violated the commission's regulations," he said.

The legislative caucuses voiced concern yesterday about the reports and the pan-blue camp called for Chiu to step down.

Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said it was not appropriate for CEC members to be involved in the election in any way, including appearing at campaign activities.

"Commission members should not be involved in campaigns and should not work as party officials either. The commission should provide an explanation," Tsai said.

People First Party caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) echoed that call.

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