Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT's Young Turks want Hsu recalled

SLOW TO ACT Dissatisfied with perceived inaction, younger party members are starting a signature drive today to force the convicted Keelung mayor to step down

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative aides yesterday said they would stage a signature campaign starting today in a bid to recall Keelung Mayor Hsu Tsai-li (許財利), who was recently convicted of corruption.

Hsu was found guilty by the Keelung District Court of abusing his position to sell a plot of land to the Keelung City Government's bus department. He was sentenced on Sept. 19 to seven years in prison and deprived of civil rights for eight years.

His KMT membership was canceled after the conviction. KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has also urged Hsu to step down voluntarily, but Hsu has refused. His case is currently on appeal.

Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the director of KMT Legislator Pai Tien-chih's (白添枝) office, told a press conference yesterday that the group thought KMT headquarters had been slow taking action on Hsu's case.

The group therefore decided to initiate a signature campaign this morning in front of Keelung's train station, which aims to gather the 5,847 signatures needed to pass the threshold -- 2 percent of the city's voters -- required to propose a recall motion to the Central Election Commission based on the Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法).

"Keelung citizens have the right to make a decision on whether to choose Hsu [as the mayor] again," said Chang Shi-gang (張斯綱), chief of the KMT's "567 Alliance," a group which represents the party's younger elements.

He added that the KMT should speed up the pace of its reform so as to "leave a better impression on the pubic and the media."

Asked about his reaction to the group's proposal, Ma said he had urged the party's Keelung branch to prepare a recall motion against Hsu.

He denied Chiao's allegation that KMT headquarters had not actively dealt with Hsu's case, adding that the party was not late in preparing a recall motion as Hsu had just completed his first-year term this Wednesday.

According to the Election and Recall Law, government chiefs cannot be recalled until they have served their first year in office.

The Young Turks, however, said they had reached a resolution before holding the press conference that they would cut communications with party headquarters for the time being.

They are also initiating an online signature campaign at the same time to garner another 38,003 signatures, or 13 percent of the city's voters, as required for a recall vote to be upheld by law.

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