Tue, Sep 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen's remarks to Miaoli commissioner spark suit

YEAR-END POLLS The pan-blue camp filed a suit after the president reportedly told the commissioner he would get him a job if he helped the DPP's candidate

BY KO SHU-LING  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent remark about the year-end Miaoli County commissioner poll touched off a heated debate between the pan-green and pan-blue caucuses yesterday.

Chen reportedly told Miaoli County Commissioner Fu Hsueh-peng (傅學鵬) in private on Sunday that if Fu helps the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) candidate win, he will help Fu get an "important" position in the central government.

Calling the president's remark a pork-barrel policy, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) caucuses yesterday filed a lawsuit at the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office against Chen for conducting vote-buying practices.

Citing the 18 practices regarded by the Supreme Court Prosecutor General's Office as vote-buying, KMT caucus whip Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) yesterday said that the president is suspected of conducting vote-buying practices by violating the 17th category of "providing or introducing a job opportunity or good position."

"It's sad to see the DPP administration use such dirty and audacious means in local elections," Cho said. "What do they expect career civil servants to think when a person siding with the DPP administration is guaranteed a promotion?"

DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德), however, dismissed the KMT caucus' accusation, saying that the president's remarks were aimed at recruiting talent to serve the nation rather than buying votes.

While it is a political norm for local officials who perform well to be recruited by the central government, Lai said that opposition parties should not mix up the president's sound intention of acknowledging Fu's achievement with the charge of vote-buying.

The Presidential Office yesterday said Chen's praise of Fu was to recognize his past performance and had nothing to do with "vote-buying."

Fu will finish his second term as Miaoli County Commissioner at the end of this year. He cannot run for a third term.

A statement issued by the Presidential Office said that Chen appreciates Fu because he is an experienced administrator and a capable person.

"Chen hopes that Fu can contribute more to the society in a higher position in the central government. The wish has nothing to do with the election. Not to mention vote-buying," the statement said.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he was not surprised at the president's words and it was not the first time the DPP had used this type of tactic to attain its aims.

"The DPP always nakedly goes to any length to attain their goals and I believe they would dare to do this," Ma said. "The KMT has foreseen this kind of scenario but I am still confident that our candidates will put up a good fight in such a tough war."

DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that no exchange was involved in the DPP's cooperation with Fu, and added that Fu had chosen to work with the DPP because he hoped his policies could be continued by the next commissioner.

Additional reporting by Chiu Yu-tzu and Jewel Huang

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