Tue, Nov 22, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Mudslinging marks run-up to Dec. 3 local chief elections

BATTLEGROUND The pan-greens and the pan-blues traded accusations yesterday, with threats of lawsuits and demands for candidates to withdraw

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the Dec. 3 local government elections drawing near, the pan-blue and pan-green legislative caucuses began tearing into each other yesterday, with both sides threatening lawsuits and calling for various candidates to apologize or withdraw from the race.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) called on Liu Cheng-hong (劉政鴻), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate for Miaoli County commissioner, to explain whether he has used a prerogative to default the payment of bank loans totaling NT$179 million.

Lai said that Liu had borrowed NT$50 million from a bank, after failing to pay off a NT$55 million loan from another bank when Liu served as the secretary-general of the KMT in 2003. Liu also stopped paying interest on a NT$85 million loan in 2002, making the total amount of bad debts about NT$180 million, Lai said.

Lai also asked KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to tell the public why his party nominates such candidates, and explain why Liu does not deserve to be kicked out of the race.

threats in nantou

Meanwhile, the DPP candidate for Nantou County commissioner, Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), yesterday vowed to file a defamation lawsuit against his colleague, DPP Legislator Lin Yun-sheng (林耘生).

Lin yesterday alleged that Tsai meddled in the selection of the train communication system for the Taiwan Railway Administration in 2002.

Lin's allegation was widely seen as a political ploy, as his father, Nantou County Commissioner Lin Tsung-nan (林宗男), is seeking re-election as an independent candidate in the polls.

Lin Yun-sheng claimed that the railroad authorities had spent over three years and NT$40 million in planning and consulting fees, but changed its mind "all of a sudden" simply because of "concerns" expressed by Tsai.

In response, Tsai yesterday said that he did question the railroad authorities on the subject during a committee hearing, but that everything was conducted in public and in a legal manner.

While the railway administration planned to purchase an analog communication system, Tsai said that he thought a digital system would be a better choice, and hoped that the railroad agency would also consider the system.

Lai jumped to defend Tsai, saying that Tsai did not do anything wrong or illegal. Lai also called Lin Yun-sheng's accusation "improper."

"I'm calling on Lin Yun-sheng to stop imitating the KMT's dirty election tricks to smear election rivals," he said, adding that his caucus will not consider meting out disciplinary action until the elections are over.

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