Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taichung mayoral candidate Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday accused Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of abusing administrative resources by having Lin’s policy statement in the government-issued election bulletin edited to delete remarks about Hu.
Lin’s campaign team told a news conference that it received a letter from the Taichung Election Committee on Oct. 9 that said it had to revise the content of the statement submitted for the bulletin, which is mailed to every voter in the city.
The letter also said that the Taichung Election Committee considered Lin’s submission to be in violation of election laws, and so it would not be published unless changes were made.
Photo: Su Chin-fong, Taipei Times
Lin’s team said it refused to make any changes.
The team said it discovered on Thursday that its remarks about Hu in the statement — that the mayor had had the lowest approval ratings among all city and county heads since Taichung city and Taichung county were merged four years ago — had been deleted.
Lin’s spokesperson Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) said that the election committee’s monitoring team had met on Sept. 26 and 25 out of the 35 committee members present voted to approve the publishing of Lin’s submission.
However, the vote was overruled when the city’s election committee met four days later by the head of the committee, Deputy Taichung Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤), Chang Liao said.
Tsai is serving as acting mayor while Hu campaigns for re-election.
By failing to respect the monitoring team’s conclusion, Tsai violated the right to free speech and set a bad example for democracy, and his actions were proof that Hu’s camp has been playing dirty tricks, Chang Liao said.
The Taichung Election Committee held a news conference right after Lin’s, and according to the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newpaper), Tsai said the deleted sentences were not part of Lin’s policy statement and were in violation of several articles of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公務人員選舉罷免法).
Article 55 prohibits any comments that violate criminal laws, Article 53 stipulates that no poll numbers can be publicized as of 10 days before the election day and Article 104 says that anyone convicted of disseminating rumors or false sayings for the purpose of electing or preventing the election of a candidate faces up to five years in jail.
As for the overturning of the monitoring team’s agreement, Tsai said the Central Committee Election had been consulted and it said that following the monitoring team’s review of the proposed election bulletin, the content should be examined by the local election committee.
The Taichung Election Committee has faultlessly abided by the rules, Tsai said.
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