Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Primary for Lee’s seat set for Feb. 8

CHANGING HANDSTwo city councilors have expressed interest in the legislative seat, while prosecutors are likely to go through Diane Lee’s tax returns for evidence

By Mo Yan-chih and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Supporters of the Taiwan Association of University Professors and other pro-localization groups stage a sit-in protest in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday calling for recently resigned Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Diane Lee, who is accused of holding dual citizenship, to pay back her government salary.

PHOTO: CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will hold a primary election on Feb. 8 to determine which candidate will run in the by-election to fill the seat left vacant by former KMT legislator Diane Lee (李慶安).

KMT Taipei City councilors Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) and Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) have both expressed interest in running for the seat. The party will choose the final candidate through the primary and formally nominate the candidate during its central standing committee on Feb. 11, said Pan Chia-sen (潘家森), director of the KMT’s Taipei City branch.

Another possible KMT candidate, Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), yesterday reiterated that he had no intention of running in the by-election.

Lee, who allegedly holds US citizenship in violation of the Nationality Act (國籍法), stepped down on Thursday.

The by-election in Taipei City’s Da-an (大安) legislative district will be held on March 28.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday declined to discuss details of the party’s candidate selection process, but said the party would choose a candidate who can represent the party’s spirit.

“Aside from winning the by-election, the candidate should also represent the party’s spirit and help us achieve the party’s goals,” she said after meeting with the DPP Taipei City Council caucus.

Several DPP Taipei city councilors, including Lee Chien-chan (李建昌) and Lee Shu-hua (李淑華), however, said the party could choose a non-DPP member to represent the party in the election as the district has traditionally been a pan-blue stronghold.

However, they said that the party remained optimistic about its chances of winning the by-election.

Meanwhile, Diane Lee yesterday reported to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning over her alleged dual nationality.

Lee arrived at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office at about 9:50am and entered the building without comment.

The questioning lasted for approximately two hours.

“I have given all the details to prosecutors. I have no comment at the moment, thank you,” Lee said as she left the building.

Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office Spokesman Lin Chin-chun (林錦村) said that all the evidence collected so far showed that Lee remained a US citizen.

Should that be the case, Lee may have committed forgery or falsification of documents as she did not tell the truth when participating in elections.

Since she has served as a Taipei City councilor and legislator since 1994, she may also have violated the Nationality Act (國籍法).

Lee is barred from leaving the country and has been named a defendant on suspicion of committing forgery or falsification of documents and corruption.

Prosecutor Huang Hui-ling (黃惠玲) said the next questioning was scheduled for Feb. 10.

A prosecutor not connected with Lee’s case who wished to remain anonymous told the Taipei Times that prosecutors plan to go through Lee’s US tax returns and details of her US properties in search of more evidence for the case.

As Lee had questioned former Taipei deputy mayor Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟) regarding his US citizenship in 1994, prosecutors believe that Lee was fully acquainted with the relevant regulations. Consequently, saying that she was not aware of the law would not be an acceptable defense, according to prosecutors.

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