Thu, Dec 27, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP opens center dedicated to clean election campaigns

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday opened a center dedicated to fighting vote-buying ahead of the legislative and presidential elections.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who doubles as the party's chairman, called on the public to inform the center of any suspected vote-buying by calling the number (02) 2392-9989, extension numbers 382 to 388.

Chen led staff at the center in chanting "With clean elections the whole country wins."

The DPP's Central Standing Committee resolved on Nov. 12 to form a task force chaired by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to combat vote-buying.

Lu, however, did not show up at yesterday's event, which followed on the heels of two media reports about her.

In one report, one of Lu's bodyguards allegedly photographed a Presidential Office staffer in the bathroom. In the other report, Lu was accused of having close ties with the owner of a holiday resort in Ilan County.

Lu's office issued a statement yesterday rebutting allegations that she frequented the resort and saying that Lu -- who also serves as the leader of a national tourism alliance -- works hard at promoting tourist attractions across the country and does not play favorites.

The report, which was published in the latest issue of the Chinese-language Next magazine, said that Lu associated with the owner of the resort, Gao Jien-wen (高建文), who was convicted of an illegal land deal.

Lu's office said the vice president was unaware of Gao's personal affairs.

Meanwhile, concerning the launch of the center, a DPP Central Standing Committee member expressed concern over the affect vote-buying could have on the election outcome.

"It is like two men fighting in a cage. Neither can afford to lose and both will do whatever it takes to win," said the committee member, who wished to remain anonymous. "We are worried that the lower the turnout rate, the more rampant the vote-buying will be."

Meanwhile, Jou Yi-cheng (周奕成), founder of the Third Society Party, yesterday called on the DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) not to buy votes.

Jou, a former DPP member, said he had heard that his DPP rival for a legislative seat, Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅), had channeled millions of NT dollars to his vote captains to buy votes.

Jou also called his KMT rival, Justin Chou (周守訓), unqualified to seek re-election.

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