Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

NT$30 campaign gift limit to be reviewed, says MOJ

CNA , TAIPEI

Minister of Justice Shih Mao-lin, Public Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao, and Investigation Bureau Director Yeh Sheng-mao, left to right, brief the Taiwan Solidarity Union's caucus yesterday about their vote buying investigations.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Ministry of Justice will review the regulation which stipulates that the distribution of gifts worth more than NT$30 during an election campaign constitutes vote-buying, Minister of Justice Shih Mao-lin (施茂林) said yesterday.

Shih made the remarks when he and Public Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao (吳英昭) were invited by the Taiwan Solidarity Union's legislative caucus to report on the crackdown on vote-buying in last Saturday's local government elections.

Shih said that whether the feting of campaign staff, as well as caps or other souvenirs distributed by candidates, constitute vote-buying should be reviewed.

The ministry will take stock of the approach of Japan in reviewing the regulation and add it to the Election and Recall Law (選罷法), Shih said.

His predecessor, Chen Ding-nan (陳定南), who lost his bid for the Ilan county commissioner seat last Saturday, set the strict regulation that any gifts worth more than NT$30 are regarded as vote-buying back in 2001.

When Chen set NT$30 as the threshold, even some within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the amount set would become a joke.

But that the strict regulations seemed to backfire during Chen's own campaign when he himself was questioned for feting voters, although throwing lavish banquets for constituents during election campaigns is a very common practice throughout Taiwan.

Shih said that since a crackdown on vote-buying was launched in June, district courts have handled 13,161 alleged cases of bribery. As of Thursday, prosecutors had indicted 22 people involved in the city and county chief elections, 554 people involved in the city and county councilor elections, and 564 people involved in the village and township polls.

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