Sat, Nov 19, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP claiming the advantage in eight election races

CNA , TAIPEI

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) enjoys stable leads in eight of the 23 county and city chief races in the Dec. 3 elections, a party official said yesterday.

DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that although the profiteering scandal surrounding the Kaohsiung mass rapid transit project has had an impact on the party's campaign over the past two months, the situation has improved since the party promised various reforms, including one concerning the retirement benefits of civil servants, military personnel and teachers.

Currently, the DPP has stable leads in Changhua, Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Nantou, Pingtung, Yunlin and Tainan Counties and in Tainan City, Cheng said.

While the races in Taipei, Penghu, Ilan counties and Chiayi City are too close to call, the DPP is catching up in Miaoli and Taichung counties and Taichung City, he said.

Cheng said the DPP stands a chance of winning in every county and city, adding that the party will make an all-out effort for its candidates during the remaining two weeks before the polls.

He pointed out that the DPP's candidates have recently exposed several scandals involving their Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) opponents and that the KMT candidates have failed to offer a clear explanation for these cases.

This shows that the KMT candidates cannot withstand scrutiny and highlights the incorruptible and pro-reform image of DPP candidates, he said.

Meanwhile, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said the requirement of affixing a seal on voters' national ID cards of voters will remain in place for the Dec. 3 polls.

"As the starting date for issuing of the new version of ID cards has been postponed until Dec. 21, the stamp requirement should be kept in place for the Dec. 3 elections for local government chiefs," the commission said.

The commission had decided to eliminate an article in the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法) requiring that a stamp be placed on the ID cards of voters in light of the fact that the Ministry of the Interior was set to begin issuing the new ID cards, which will be laminated, making it impossible to stamp seals on the cards.

That decision had led many lawmakers to voice concerns that the move might lead to voting irregularities by making it easier for people to cast ballots more than once.

A majority of legislators from across the political spectrum favor keeping the stamp requirement in place in order to minimize election disputes.

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