Wed, Dec 28, 2011 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Former deputy speaker breaks neutrality rule

By Lo Tien-pin  /  Staff Reporter

In the run-up to the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 14, the armed forces have repeatedly called on military personnel to strictly maintain their administrative neutrality, which includes not allowing any election campaign activities within military bases.

However, according to an authoritative source, a Military Police Day celebration at Military Police Command on Dec. 10 saw this principle flouted by a visiting speaker.

Former deputy legislative speaker Yao Eng-chi (饒穎奇), who served in the military police, called on those present to support President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in his re-election bid in an address to the assembly in the base’s auditorium.

Yao reportedly praised Ma for establishing peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait and for ensuring that Taiwan’s economy could continue to grow despite the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

Additionally, representatives of the military police reserves invited to take part in the celebrations included two legislative candidates — Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) and former People First Party legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄).

While Liu wore a suit to the event, Chang appeared wearing a vest bearing his name and title, “Legislator Chang Ching-chung.”

Cheng Sheng-yang (鄭昇陽), director of Military Police Command’s political warfare department, said that notices had been put up at the auditorium and other places reminding people to maintain the armed forces’ administrative neutrality and that speakers invited to the Military Police Day celebrations had been asked not to make political speeches or support specific candidates.

Cheng agreed that Yao’s calls for support for Ma conflicted with these instructions and said Yao’s microphone had been switched off soon after he started making political comments, after which the organizers again reminded all those present to stick to the principle of neutrality.

A Military Police Command official said that Chang had only taken part in a group photograph.

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