The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of attempting to buy votes in the legislative by-election in Greater Taichung on Saturday and offered a reward of NT$10 million (US$344,000) for whistleblowers, while urging the judiciary to crack down on any such violations.
“Rumors of KMT candidate Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) trying to buy votes have been rampant as the by-election campaign for Greater Taichung’s second electoral district enters its final week. The DPP opposes vote-buying and calls for a clean election,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference in Taipei.
The party has initiated six measures to discourage vote-buying, including offering a NT$10 million reward for whistleblowers, forming a “guardian task force” of 600 vote monitors who will be stationed in the 203 polling stations, hiring five private investigation companies to investigate vote-buying allegations using high-tech equipment and compiling a list of possible violators, Lin said.
The party has also set up a hotline for supporters to report their findings to DPP headquarters or the campaign office of the party’s candidate, Chen Shih-kai (陳世凱), and encouraged supporters to gather evidence using their mobile phones to record incidences of vote-buying, he said.
The DPP believes it has a chance to win the post left vacant by Yen’s father — former Non-Partisan Solidarity Union legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), whose status was revoked after he was found guilty of corruption — unless the results are affected by vote-buying, the party said.
The DPP has submitted an appeal with Greater Taichung police, President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and all voters in the district, urging the authorities and the KMT to ensure a clean and fair election, and for voters not to sell their vote.
Lin said the KMT is known for vote-buying, with more than 40 KMT legislators, city and county councilors, and city and township mayors having had their victories was invalidated by the judiciary because of voting violations. Fifteen of the cases are pending trial.
DPP legislative caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and DPP legislators Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純) also visited the Greater Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday to make the same appeal.
Ker underlined the importance of the by-election, saying that the outcome of the election “could impact Taiwan’s political development in the short term.”
Ker was referring to a possible political shift in favor of the DPP in central Taiwan, where the KMT has recently suffered blows because of corruption allegations against former Nantou County commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) and the family of Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), in addition to Yen Ching-piao’s sentencing.