Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - Page 3 News List

CEC fines official, voter for pre-election remarks

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Central Election Commission (CEC) official Chao Shu-chien (趙叔鍵), who was recommended to the CEC by the People First Party, was fined NT$400,000 for making a pro-Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) statement on a TV political commentary show a day prior to the presidential election.

“If [Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate] Frank Hsieh [謝長廷] wins the election, Taiwanese will continue to suffer as they have for the past eight years,” Chao said on TVBS on March 21 last year.

According to the law, election authority officials are barred from making partisan comments or endorsing a particular candidate.

Chao denies what he said was inappropriate.

“I have my freedom of speech too, especially when I was introduced on the show as a professor, not as a CEC member,” he said in a news footage broadcast by news channel SET-TV yesterday.

Chao appealed to the Administrative Court, but was turned down.

Meanwhile, an enthusiastic voter, Lee Huang-lei (黎煌雷), could be fined NT$500,000 by the CEC for sending a 50-word text message on the day of the presidential election last year soliciting support for Ma.

“The President and Vice President Election and Recall Act [總統副總統選舉罷免法] prohibits any campaign or promotional activities for a candidate,” CEC ­secretary-general Teng Tien-yu (鄧天祐) said yesterday.

“Violators can be fined between NT$500,000 and NT$5 million [US$154,000]. We gave him the lightest penalty because the violation was minor,” Teng said.

Lee sent a text message to 185 friends and relatives urging them to vote for Ma on March 22 last year.

One of the recipients of the text message reported the matter to the CEC, which decided to fine Lee at the end of last year, a CEC official said on condition of anonymity.

Lee appealed to the Cabinet’s Administrative Appeal Commission, but he was turned down, the official said.

If Lee does not make another appeal within the next two months, he will have to pay the fine.

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