Tue, Dec 06, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Election results irk prosecutors

STRANGE DAYS Almost all candidates in last weekend's elections that were detained for alleged vote-buying won seats, prosecutors say, adding that they find this `strange'

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) yesterday said prosecutors will file annulment suits against winners of local councilor and township chief seats that have been indicted for vote-buying.

Because more than 10 local councilor and township chief candidates who had been detained for vote-buying during their campaigns -- as well as most of the candidates who were under investigation for vote-buying -- won in the elections on Saturday, State Public Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao (吳英昭) yesterday told the legislative judicial committee that "Taiwanese people are too sensational."

Shih also told the committee that he felt it was strange that most of the candidates suspected of vote-buying were able to get elected.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) said "it seems that being sent to jail during a campaign guarantees victory for candidates in any kind of election, because they win sympathy votes."

Wu responded, "If that is the truth, then Taiwan's democracy is done."

Shih said prosecutors nationwide will swiftly file annulment suits against 20 local councilship winners and 10 township chiefs that were indicted for vote-buying before election day.

Shih said that according to the Election and Recall Law (選舉罷法), annulment suits must be filed within 15 days of the announcement of election results.

Shih added that prosecutors nationwide are still probing a number of vote-buying scandals.

"Prosecutors are expediting their investigations for the purpose of filing annulment suits," Shih said.

Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮), head of the Tainan Prosecutors Office, yesterday said that a criminal trial takes many years to finalize and a final sentence is given, but annulment suits can be completed in one year, because the law stipulates that an annulment suit cannot be appealed. As a result, elected criminals can be suspended from their posts more quickly.

Tainan prosecutors indicted 17 candidates before Saturday's poll, all of whom won election.

In addition to the councilor and township elections, Taitung Council Speaker Wu Chun-li (吳俊立) was charged with vote-buying a few days before the elections, and was released on NT$1 million (US$29,800) bail. Yet he still won the Taitung County commissioner seat.

A number of prosecutors said that they were disappointed with the election results.

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