Sat, Nov 22, 2014 - Page 2 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Outlying islands residents protest against vote-buying

‘VOTE-BUYING HAVENS’:Protesters said vote-buying by paying for voters’ flights is so rampant that very few tickets are left for people booking their own flights

By Huang Li-hsiang  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Outlying Islands Youth Front and the Tree Party yesterday staged a protest outside the Ministry of Transportation and Communications building in Taipei against alleged vote-buying by candidates in the outlying island counties of Kinmen, Penghu and Lienchiang, in the form of paying for airfare for voters living on Taiwan proper.

The protesters said that the aforementioned form of vote-buying is rampant in the counties, adding that as a result of candidates buying out tickets for flights to the island, many young people are having trouble booking flights to return home before election day.

Outlying Islands Youth Front Penghu branch spokesperson and local resident Hung Kuo-chen (洪國珍) described the areas in question as “vote-buying havens,” saying that candidates running for posts from commissioner down to even borough have colluded in monopolizing the tickets.

Furthermore, candidates in Lienchiang County are now offering NT$10,000 for each vote, he added.

He said that the problem of vote-buying has plagued his hometown since he was little, but people have turned a blind eye to the issue.

Hung said he would encourage people to cast invalid votes to curb vote-buying on the outlying islands.

Outlying Island Youth Front founder Hsien Yi-che (冼義哲) called on the armed forces to dispatch aircraft to bring voters back home to cast their ballots.

He said the Cabinet should resolve the shortage of tickets as a result of vote-buying by securing airfare for 10,000 voters, going on to speculate that some candidates have arranged chartered flights to mobilize even more voters.

He also urged that location-based voting stations be established across the nation to prevent similar incidents from recurring.

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