Tue, Nov 03, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Kuang registers for Taitung race

THE OLD SWITCHEROO? The DPP has speculated that the Taitung commissioner dropped her re-election bid to make room for a legislator whose post she covets

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP legislators Gao Jyh-peng, Chai Trong-rong and Tsai Huang-liang, left to right, hold a press conference yesterday on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) nomination for the year-end Taitung County commissioner election.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday threatened to take the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to court if it nominates Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-cheng (鄺麗貞) for a legislative by-election next year, saying she may have made a “backroom deal” to run in the race.

Kuang registered for the Taitung legislative by-election yesterday amid claims by the DPP that it was a trade-off for her promise not to seek re-election.

KMT Secretary-General Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) said Kuang would still need to go through a primary to become the party’s nominee even if she is the only candidate to register. Her approval rating must exceed 30 percent to win the nomination, he said.

Yesterday, Kuang and another KMT member, Chen Yun-ping (陳允萍), picked up registration forms for the by-election. However, Chen was apparently ineligible to register because she resumed her party membership less than four months ago, prompting speculation that her interest in the position is just show.

“It was an obvious orchestrated trade-off — asking someone who is ineligible to run to pick up a form. Since Chen is ineligible, Kuang will be the sole candidate,” DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said, accusing the KMT of violating Article 97 of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act (公職人員選罷法), which states that candidates or likely candidates found guilty of withdrawing from a race because of bribery or other illegal factors face a three to 10-year jail term.

“We are watching to see whether the KMT will nominate her,” DPP Spokesman Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) told a press conference.

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) urged the Taitung Prosecutors’ Office to investigate whether a deal was struck between the KMT, Kuang and KMT Legislator Justin Huang (黃健庭).

Kuang made headlines in July last year when she came under fire for being on a trip to Europe when a typhoon hit her county. The criticism intensified as details emerged of the trip and other trips she took with government funding.

The 46-year-old made the news again recently when she dropped her re-election bid, making way for Huang to run for the post and making a by-election necessary to fill his seat in the legislature. Huang resigned as legislator last month.

The KMT has rebutted speculation of a deal, but KMT caucus secretary-general Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) called the timing of Kuang’s registration in the race “strange.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG AND KO SHU-LING

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