The Presidential Office and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) maintained a low profile yesterday following the resignation of former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) amid his alleged involvement in a bribery scandal, seeking to minimize the damage by describing the incident as a judicial case.
Presidential Office deputy spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has stated clearly that he respected Lin’s decision to resign from the post while under investigation.
The KMT also tried to distance itself from Lin. Director of the KMT’s Culture and Communication Committee, Chuang Po-chun (莊伯仲), said the party would not comment on any judicial case and Lin should make clarifications or explanations on his own.
However, the bribery allegations against Lin have affected the KMT’s reputation amid Ma’s efforts to improve its image of being old and corrupt.
As one of Ma’s preferred officials, Lin, 44, was also a promising politician in the KMT who had enjoyed a solid support base in Greater Kaohsiung. His alleged involvement in the bribery case could make it more difficult for the KMT to expand its support base in the south of the nation and win future local elections there.
KMT Secretary-General Lin Join-Sane (林中森) said the KMT is dedicated to cultivating more young talent and will finalize its selection of candidates for the June 2014 local elections within the next three months to plan for the campaigns, dismissing concerns about the party’s problematic support base in southern Taiwan.
Meanwhile, despite Ma’s trademark emphasis on “clean politics,” government statistics showed that among the 31 cases since November 2007 in which political parties were penalized because their nominees were engaged in vote-buying, the KMT was involved in 26 cases, while the Democratic Progressive Party had three and the People First Party and the Dadao Compassion Jishih Party each had one.
The Election and Recall Act for Public Servants (公職人員選舉罷免法) was amended in November 2007 to hold political parties responsible if candidates endorsed by them are found to be engaged in campaign irregularities.
The KMT has been fined NT$16 million (US$535,000) for the 26 campaign irregularities.
Most of the vote-buying incidents involving KMT candidates — with a few exceptions such as the case involving former KMT legislator Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) in December 2007 — have occurred after Ma was sworn in as the party chairman in October 2008.