Hualien Tourism Association president Shih Sheng-lang (施勝郎) yesterday filed a lawsuit against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義), accusing him of violating the Public Officials Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) ahead of the Hualien County commissioner election.
Shih alleges that Wu, in order to secure the party’s nomination for Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), met one of Yeh’s rivals for the nomination to convince her not to run.
Former Hualien County Agricultural Development Office chief Tu Li-hua (杜麗華) was to be rewarded with the position of deputy commissioner, Shih said in his filing to the Taipei District Court.
He accused Wu of bribery and said he filed the lawsuit as association president and a Hualien resident to warn Wu against “using party scheming to interfere with a local election.”
The KMT’s candidate for the commissioner election in December remains undecided after five hopefuls who registered for the party primary protested the party’s decision in May to cancel the primary and nominate Yeh.
The five hopefuls are Tu, Hualien County Deputy Commissioner Chang Chi-ming (張志明), KMT Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁), Hualien County Council Speaker Yang Wen-chi (楊文值) and Hualien Mayor Tsai Chi-ta (蔡啟塔).
Media speculated at the time that the primary was scrapped because President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) favored Yeh.
The five candidates have continued to campaign since the primary was canceled.
Wu yesterday rebutted Shih’s accusations. He said Tu and her secretary had visited KMT headquarters to discuss the election, but Wu had not promised her the position of deputy commissioner to give up her nomination bid.
“He should show evidence if he has any. This is slander if he can’t provide solid proof,” Wu said at KMT headquarters.
Wu said he could file a defamation lawsuit against Shih, adding that the party would continue negotiating with the candidates to finalize the party’s nomination.
The KMT is also having difficulties in Hsinchu County, with Hsinchu County Council Speaker Chang Pi-chin (張碧琴) planning to run in the election although the party nominated KMT Legislator Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳).
KMT Vice Chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) urged incumbent Hsinchu County Commissioner Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金) to mobilize grassroots support for the party’s nominee.
Chan said he had arranged two meetings between Cheng and Ma, and expected Cheng, an influential politician in Hsinchu, to help cement the party’s support for Chiu.
In related developments, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Central Executive Committee yesterday unanimously nominated DPP Legislator Chang Hwa-kuan (張花冠) and former DPP legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) to run in the Chiayi and Nantou county commissioner elections, respectively.
Su Jia-chuan (蘇嘉全), head of the party’s Campaign Strategy Unit, said that in six opinion polls conducted in Chiayi County since June last year, Chang had at least a 10 percent lead over her Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) opponent, Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞)
Lee trailed his KMT rival by a 10 percent margin, Su said, adding the party was optimistic as Lee had yet to begin campaigning.
“We believe that once the campaign season starts, many voters will be attracted by Lee’s ideals. We are confident that Lee will bag the victory for the party,” Su said.