Thu, Jan 12, 2006 - Page 3 News List

DPP legislator asks for Lu's help amid vote-buying rumors

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌) yesterday appealed to DPP acting chairwoman Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to clear her name after reports surfaced that she had been involved in vote-buying for a candidate running in the party's chairperson election.

Hsueh said she would resign if the bribery accusation was confirmed.

With the by-election for the DPP's chairperson taking place on Sunday, rumors and hate mail have been spreading with growing intensity among grassroots DPP members.

One rumor said that Chen Sheng-hung (陳勝宏), a member of the DPP's central standing committee, and Hsueh, his wife, have paid the annual party fees for employees of Sunny Bank (陽信銀行) -- which is run by the Chens -- and have asked their employees to vote for their favored candidate, Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮), for chairperson.

Chen, who is also the convener of the Green Alliance, and Hsueh were also said to be attempting to influence the outcome of the by-election through voting-buying to secure their position in the DPP.

Hsueh and Chen were furious about the rumors and rushed to DPP headquarters yesterday at noon to protest.

"I think it is shameful for some people to blacken our names by spreading such a rumor," Hsueh said yesterday.

Later in the afternoon, when Lu walked out of the weekly central standing committee, Hsueh blocked her path and pleaded with the acting chairwoman to investigate the incident and find out who was behind the rumor.

Facing reporters' inquiries and Hsueh's pleas, Lu said that paying the annual fees of other members wasn't a problem, because to be eligible to vote in the by-election, members have to have paid their fees before Oct. 17 last year.

"Therefore, I do not think the recent rumor makes any sense," Lu said, asking Hsueh to offer an explanation.

"The DPP has adopted high moral standards in every election and I hope we take the same attitude in this by-election," Hsueh said. "If I have bought votes for Tsai or anyone, I will immediately resign from my position as a legislator-at-large."

At a news conference held after the central standing committee, DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said the party does not forbid members from paying the annual fees of other members, but many party heavyweights have pointed out that the practice is controversial.

"Although the DPP encourages party members to hand in their annual fees for themselves, it is not against party regulations for certain members to help other members retain their membership," Lee said.

On reforming the problem of so-called "nominal" party members -- meaning members whose memberships have been paid by other DPP members -- central standing committee member Cheng Po-ching (鄭寶清) said he will file a motion next week to prohibit the practice.

Cheng's proposal obtained the support of some other members.

Meanwhile, Lu announced that party's new committee against corruption will start investigating four cases reported by the public but that the DPP will not publicize the process until the cases are closed.

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