The non-profit legislative watchdog group Citizen Congress Watch (CCW) yesterday urged the Legislative Yuan to amend legislation to oblige lawmakers whose elected status had been annulled or who left their position before completing their term to return the government’s election subsidy to the state coffers.
In a press release, CCW said seven members of the seventh legislature, elected in January last year, had already left the legislature.
Three of them lost their seats after courts annulled their election in vote-buying cases, CCW said.
The three former legislators are former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Lee E-tin (李乙廷), Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) and Chiang Lien-fu (江連福).
In addition, former KMT legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) resigned over a dual nationality controversy while former KMT legislators Lee Chi-chu (李紀珠), Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) and Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) were appointed to government posts.
CCW said the government had to spend NT$52 million (US$1.6 million) on the by-elections for Lee E-tin, Chang and Diane Lee, adding that two more by-elections for Chiang and Wu would also be held soon.
While every legislator is entitled to government stipends for the number of votes they garner in legislative elections, the Election and Recall Act of Public Servants (公職人員選舉罷免法) does not oblige lawmakers who fail to complete their legislative term to return the funds, CCW said.
Elected representatives or officials enjoy election stipends — NT$30 for every vote they win. Wu, who is now the premier, won 64,295 votes in the legislative election and thus received about NT$1.9 million (US$59,000).
“These people are no longer legislators and have disappointed their voters. They do not deserve the stipends,” CCW said.
Seven more legislators are expected to join the year-end city and county chief elections, meaning the nation may have to hold more by-elections before the end of the term of the seventh legislature, CCW said.
“Given the rising national debt, legislators should help the people save money,” CCW added.
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