The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday ignored the decision of its Hualien branch’s integrity committee and said KMT Legislator Fu Kun-chi’s (傅崐萁) was not qualified to represent the party in any election.
The KMT Organization and Development Committee yesterday contacted the local branch and said Fu, who has been found guilty in two different cases, is unqualified to represent the party in the Hualien County commissioner election.
The committee’s decision contradicted the branch integrity committee’s decision on Tuesday when it approved Fu’s qualification to join the primary.
KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), committee director Huang Chao-yuan (黃昭元) and Evaluation and Discipline Committee head Juan Kang-meng (阮剛猛) met yesterday morning to discuss the issue and decided that the party would not allow Fu to run.
Wu said the KMT was abiding by the decision made by the central integrity committee in April that Fu should not be nominated by the party in any election as he had been found guilty in his first and second trials in two cases.
It was understandable that the Hualien branch had made the decision because of “personal relations,” but the party would demand that the local branch follow the central party’s decision, Wu said.
“The bottom line is that Fu cannot be nominated as a candidate in any election and therefore it is impossible for the KMT to agree to his joining the primary. This is a very clear conclusion,” he said.
Fu was indicted on Feb. 2, 2000, for illegally speculating in Taiwan Pineapple Group stock in 1998.
In 2003, the Taipei District Court sentenced Fu to six years in jail, fined him NT$150 million (US$4.5 million) and deprived him of his civil rights for four years. Fu filed an appeal with the Taiwan High Court and on June 11 the high court sentenced Fu to four years in jail and a fine of NT$20 million. Fu appealed again.
He also questioned the qualifications of Minister of Health Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), saying that he should spend years gaining a better understanding of the county before running.
KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday declined to comment on the issue when approached by reporters.
The revised version of the KMT’s “black gold exclusion clause” (排黑條款) states that members who are found guilty of corruption at their initial trial are not to be nominated for any election.
The party also has the authority to deny a member’s application to run in an election if it believes that the individual would damage the party’s reputation.
Fu and another four KMT members, including Hualien County Deputy Commissioner Chang Chi-ming (張志明), Hualien County Council Speaker Yang Wen-chi (楊文值), Hualien City Mayor Tsai Chi-ta (蔡啟塔) and former director of Hualien County’s Agricultural Development Office Tu Li-hua (杜麗華) have registered with the party to participate in the primary.
Yeh resigned from the health mnistry on Monday and announced that he would also stand in the primary and seek the party’s nomination.
The party is scheduled to finalize the nomination by Sept. 12.
In related news, the KMT Central Standing Committee yesterday approved the nomination of John Wu (吳志揚), son of Wu Poh-hsiung, as the candidate for the Taoyuan County commissioner election. Pingtung County Council Speaker Chou Dian-lun (周典論) is set to represent the party in the Pingtung County commissioner election. The party also approved the nomination of Chang Ken-hui (張艮輝), a professor at Yunlin Technology University, for the Yunlin legislative by-election.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called on the KMT to run a clean campaign in the year-end local elections and urged the government to step up its efforts to prosecute those who have been accused of vote buying in the past.
Tsai made the remarks during the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, which was held in Yunlin County.
The chairperson went south to stump for DPP candidate Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國), who will represent the party in the legislative by-election after former KMT legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) was found guilty of vote buying last month.
Chang’s victory was declared void and his father, who allegedly orchestrated the vote-buying scheme to secure his son’s win, is running for the seat as an independent. The Changs have proclaimed their innocence.
“We must stand united behind Liu, who is the party’s best and the youngest nominee. He cares deeply about public welfare and will not stop fighting for the people. We must win this battle,” Tsai told hundreds of DPP supporters.
Liu told the crowd that although Yunlin is the home of Taiwanese puppet shows, many politicians have manipulated the people of Yunlin by stringing them along through numerous scandals.
“The people of Yunlin must stand up and stand together to defy corruption and dissolve factions. We are also asking President Ma Ying-jeou and the pan-blue camp to join the effort,” Liu said.
Speaking at the Central Standing Committee meeting, Tsai said the battle for Yunlin was the most important in Taiwan’s efforts to terminate all vote-buying practices once and for all.
The race serves as a litmus test for Ma’s declaration that all KMT candidates would be righteous and clean, she added.
Furthermore, Tsai said, the race tests Ma’s credibility, as he has vowed to get to the bottom of all vote-buying cases, regardless of party lines. The DPP noted that five KMT legislators and one People’s First Party legislator were accused of vote buying in the last legislative election and only two have been found guilty so far.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG
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