Tue, Dec 14, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Minister hails `cleanest' legislative election

CNA , TAIPEI

Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan points to a newspaper in the legislature yesterday which reported that Saturday's elections were the cleanest ever conducted because of the efforts of his ministry.

PHOTO: LUO PEI-TEH, TAIPEI TIMES

The just-concluded elections for the sixth Legislative Yuan were the cleanest in the nation's history, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) said yesterday.

The previous legislative elections in 2001 were rated by Britain's Financial Times as the cleanest in the history of Taiwan's legislative elections, but Chen said the latest elections were even cleaner.

Yet, by Friday, prosecutors' offices around the nation had received 5,565 suspected vote-buying tip-offs, while 151 people involved in 39 of those cases had been indicted by Friday. In comparison, 3,404 alleged vote-buying cases were reported ahead of the 2001 legislative elections.

Quoting the results of a pre-election public opinion poll conducted by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, Chen said 43.5 percent of respondents felt an improvement in election culture, with longstanding vote-buying practices in check. Only 26.9 percent said they didn't detect a decline in vote-buying.

Chen said another survey conducted by the media on Friday showed 41 percent of respondents sensed a decrease in vote-buying, compared with 4 percent who said "no improvement" was made.

Chen said the increase in reports of vote-buying could be due to a combination of factors, including cash rewards offered by the government to informants, an enhanced public-awareness campaign and cooperation among law-enforcement agencies.

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