Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 3 News List

First step to oust Hsu completed

LONG ROAD AHEAD The KMT maintained that it would continue with the arduous process of having Keelung Mayor Hsu Tsai-li recalled despite numerous challenges

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials and a resident of Keelung greet each other at a press conference yesterday to announce that they had gathered enough signatures for the first stage of the process to recall convicted KMT Keelung Mayor Hsu Tsai-li.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has completed the first of three challenging tasks in an attempt to recall Keelung Mayor Hsu Tsai-li (許財利) -- who has been convicted on corruption charges -- by soliciting the required number of signatures from voters in the northern port city to formally submit a recall proposal.

The KMT Keelung chapter has collected a total of 6,803 signatures since launching its campaign to oust Hsu nearly two weeks ago, local chapter chief Chiang Shih-liang (江士良) said yesterday.

The Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法) stipulates that a mayoral recall proposal requires the endorsement of 2 percent of the voters, or 5,847 Keelung residents.

In the second phase, another 38,003 signatures are required for the Central Election Commission (CEC) to hold a vote.

After the KMT submits the proposal to the commission, it will have 60 days to solicit the required number of signatures to support the proposal.

The final phase requires the participation of half of the 292,330 eligible voters in the 2005 Keelung mayoral elections -- or 146,165 people -- in a vote. If the majority vote in favor of ousting the mayor, Hsu will be recalled.

"It is awkward [for the KMT to recall Hsu] because Hsu used to be our favorite candidate for Keelung mayor and we have helped him win the election," said Chiang. "But, bottom line, it is KMT policy to ask members to assume responsibility if they make mistakes."

Chiang made the remarks during a press conference at the KMT headquarters yesterday morning.

"We will continue the campaign to recall Hsu because it is a reflection of the fact that the KMT is a political party that dares to admit its mistakes," said Chang Wang-hao (張王浩), deputy director of the KMT's Organization and Development Committee.

Chang admitted that it would be difficult to eventually recall Hsu because of the legal requirements needed to make it happen.

"We will continue the process anyway to prove to the public that the KMT is serious when it comes to dealing with corruption issues like this," Chang said.

Hsu was indicted on corruption charges on May 18 last year. Keelung prosecutors recommended an eight-year sentence in prison for the mayor. His case is currently on appeal.

Hsu was re-elected on the KMT's ticket in November 2005. He was kicked out of the party after receiving a seven-year prison term on Sept. 19 for trying to use his position to sell land to the city government.

The KMT has been criticized for nominating Hsu in 2005 when he was being investigated by prosecutors on corruption charges. The party has argued that as Hsu was protected by law from being recalled within the first year of his term, it decided to wait until the second year of his term, which began on Dec. 25 last year, to push for his removal.

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