Sun, Nov 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Statistics on vote buying make for depressing reading

MORE THAN EVER The Ministry of Justice said lawsuits had been filed requesting the invalidation of 62 election results from last year

By Yang Kuo-wen  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the campaigns for the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral and city councilor elections enter their final stages, there have been new developments in the investigations launched in connection with last year's three-in-one county, city and township elections.

The Ministry of Justice announced that district prosecutors around the nation have filed lawsuits requesting that the election of 62 county and city councilors and township mayors be declared invalid due to vote-buying, thereby setting an unwelcome new record.

The ministry's records showed that, in total, the three-in-one elections resulted in lawsuits from 12 district prosecutors against 35 county and city councilors and 27 township mayors asking that their elections be revoked, sending a brutal wake up call to local government.

lawsuits

In addition, this year's elections for village chiefs, borough wardens and township representatives had also resulted in prosecutors in Taoyuan and five other counties filing 26 lawsuits to have election results reversed due to vote buying, the second highest figure ever.

Two county councilors and two township mayors have already had their elections invalidated due to vote buying.

Officials at the Ministry of Justice said that past elections have normally generated less than 10 and no more than about a dozen lawsuits to have elections invalidated, but that officials this year have made an all-out effort to stamp out vote buying.

invalidation threat

Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) said yesterday that in the event of prosecutors finding that anyone elected was involved in vote buying -- including next month's elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung -- suspects would be "dealt with accordingly," meaning that lawsuits would be filed to have their elections invalidated.

Shih added that final verdicts will be handed down in less than one year.

The four elected officials who have already had their elections invalidated are the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Tsai Yuan-chen (蔡元珍), originally elected mayor of Wuchiu Township in Kinmen County; Chu Yu-hsuan (朱有玄) independent Hsinchu County councilor; Chen Fu-hou (陳富厚), independent Penghu County councilor and the KMT's Chen Tung-hai (陳東海), mayor of Shoufeng Township (壽豐) in Hualien County.

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