Mon, Jul 04, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Lee indictment arouses mixed feelings

REVERSE EFFECT:Some KMT members keep open channels of communication with their former boss, and his indictment could be seen as a means of oppression

By Huang Wei-chu  /  Staff Reporter

While some people in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) say the impact of former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) indictment on the party’s electoral outlook was hard to assess, others in pro--localization factions believe the indictment could work against the KMT in the January legislative and presidential elections.

Lee and a former top aide were indicted on Thursday on allegations of embezzling state funds during his time in office from 1988 until 2000, illegally siphoning US$7.8 million (NT$224 million) from secret diplomatic funds used by the National Security Bureau and laundering the money.

Lee, who is no longer in the KMT, has adopted the slogan “abandon Ma and save Taiwan” and has retained significant influence on pro-localization members within the KMT, a party source said.

Several pro-localization KMT members still keep private correspondence with Lee and maintain an open channel of communication with him, the source said.

Although it is not possible to “directly diagnose” the extent to which Lee’s indictment will influence the presidential election, the key lies in the follow-up effect, the source said, adding that Lee’s indictment, half a year before the poll, had hit a nerve.

Lee is not connected to corruption in most people’s minds, the source said, adding that because the case would not be concluded quickly, it would continue to ferment in the lead-up to the election.

While President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he respected the judiciary, if the situation develops into discontent over the Ma administration’s “oppression” of Lee, then it risked having a detrimental effect on Ma’s re-election bid, the source said.

While the KMT has assessed that Lee’s “abandon Ma and save Taiwan” rhetoric has had limited influence, his indictment could have a catalytic effect on the polls, the source said.

Pointing to the 2004 election as an example, the source said the March 19 shooting of then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) had an effect on the election, causing pro-localization voters to vote for Chen, who defeated the KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰) and vice presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜), the People First Party chairman, by a razor-thin margin.

Some in the pan-blue camp believe the assassination attempt on Chen and Lu on the eve of the election was staged, despite testimony from forensic scientist Henry Lee (李昌鈺) that the shooting was authentic.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝), noting Lee’s indictment came 15 days after Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming’s (黃世銘) return from a seven-day visit to China, has alleged that it was made under Beijing’s instructions as an attempt by China to weaken Lee’s influence ahead of the elections and to malign pro-localized Taiwanese politicians with the label of corruption.

If the KMT does not handle the Lee case carefully, it could have a detrimental effect on its campaign and increase Lee’s influence in the elections, the source said, adding that this was the reason Ma held a press conference in Taipei on Friday to clarify that the indictment was not “political oppression.”

Translated By Jake Chung, Staff Writer

This story has been viewed 4484 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top