Sun, Jan 06, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Legislative elections: Already more than 6,000 instances of vote buying: Lu


The number of reported vote-buying cases in relation to the legislative elections on Saturday exceeds 6,000 and involves more than 9,000 people, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday.

Lu made the remarks while campaigning for Hualien County Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative candidate Lu Po-chi (盧博基).

Lu called on voters to report vote-buying cases to the authorities and warned candidates not to take their chances, as the authorities had plans in place to crack down on vote buying.


In preparation for the elections, 1,500 investigators have been assigned to the anti-vote buying detachment.

All are required to stay on duty until the elections are over, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said on Friday while addressing an award ceremony for the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau.

Urging investigative authorities to step up their crackdown on vote-buying during the final week before the legislative elections, Chang said law enforcement officers should put aside their personal political preferences to ensure that an efficient legislature is created through clean elections.

The elections, in which the single-member district and two-vote system (單一選區兩票制) will be used for the first time, will be a very important turning point in the nation's political development, Chang said.

Also, the reduction of the number of seats in the new legislature -- from 225 to 113 -- will double the power of legislators, Chang said.

Chang said that it would be a national disaster if the legislature, which is responsible for monitoring the executive branch of government, were controlled by vote buyers.


Last month, civic groups including Taiwan Society held a news conference to highlight their campaign against vote-buying and said the influence of bribery was far-reaching, adding that courts had been lenient in punishing violations in the past.

The groups have sought much tougher penalties for vote-buying, from the current prison term of three to 10 years to a minimum penalty of five years.

Punishment for individuals who are found to have received bribes, they said, should be increased to between one year and seven years and/or fined between NT$50,000 and NT$500,000.

Existing penalties for receiving bribes are three years imprisonment and/or a fine of NT$5,000, the groups said.


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