The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is planning an illegal mobilization next Saturday for the presidential and legislative elections, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday. The allegation was dismissed by the KMT, which challenged the DPP to report the case to prosecutors if it is sure the plan is illegal.
Citing documents obtained from the KMT, DPP spokesperson Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) told a press conference that the party is planning to provide transportation services and to mobilize voters via text messages and telephone calls next Saturday in a systematic, nationwide project codenamed “Blue Eagle.”
Kang urged prosecutors to launch an investigation into the project, which he said could be a violation of the election laws and a case of fraud that puts the fairness of the elections at risk.
The KMT launched the project with seminars held in Greater Kaohsiung’s Nanzi (楠梓) and Zuo-ying (左營) districts on Dec. 6, Kang said.
The minutes of a meeting at the joint campaign headquarters of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and KMT legislative candidate Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩) in Cyonglin Township (芎林), Hsinchu County, showed that prize money would be awarded to local campaigners if voter turnout exceeds specific percentages, Kang said.
“It is a suspected act of vote-buying,” she said, adding that election laws prohibit campaigning of any form on the day of an election.
“We are afraid the KMT, with its large party assets and resources, could resort to all kinds of secret operations, including this project, to gain an illegal advantage in the elections,” she said.
According to Central Election Commission regulations, any form of campaigning for specific candidates, such as providing voters with transportation services, mobilizing voters via text messages or any other form of communication and wearing clothing that identifies a specific party or candidate on the day of an election are all illegal and violators are subject to a fine of between NT$500,000 and NT$5 million (US$16,500 to US$165,000), DPP lawyer Liao Hung-ling (廖虹羚) said.
Election law does not prohibit voters transporting handicapped family members to voting booths, lawyer Yuan Hsiu-hui (袁秀慧) said, but it does bar anyone from providing voters with mass transportation between their residences and polling stations.
In response to the allegations, Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強), deputy executive director of Ma’s re-election campaign, said the election mobilization measures to be undertaken by the KMT are legal.
“The DPP has made many groundless accusations recently and tried to misguide voters with false information,” Lo said.
“We urge the DPP to focus on its own campaign and to stop the smear campaign against us,” Lo added.
If the DPP finds evidence of any illegal actions by the KMT during the election campaign, it should report the case to prosecutors, he added.
KMT Culture and Communication Committee director Chuang Po-chun (莊伯仲) also denied the DPP’s accusations.
The “Blue Eagle” plan, he said, was the name of a KMT project four years ago that mobilized party members to cast their votes on the day of the 2008 presidential election.
The title of this year’s vote mobilization plan is the “vote--consolidation project,” which aims to remind party members to cast their votes on the day of the elections via telephone calls.