Tue, Nov 24, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Election costs might deter younger candidates

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

High candidate security deposit fees to stand in elections unfairly disadvantage young candidates, Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance legislative candidate Lu Hsin-chieh (呂欣潔) said yesterday.

“The security deposit threshold is far too high, fundamentally serving to shut out talented young people and keep them from running for office,” she said.

The NT$200,000 deposit to register to stand in district legislative elections is several times greater than the average monthly salary of most young people, she said.

Central Election Commission Division of Electoral Affairs Director Chuang Kuo-hsiang (莊國祥) said candidates are required to pay the deposit to discourage frivolous candidacies, adding that the money is refunded if candidates receive more than 10 percent of the vote in their district.

Lu appeared with fellow alliance candidate Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) outside the Taipei City Election Commission yesterday prior to officially registering their candidacies, calling for electoral reforms to “break the golden chains” of money politics.

They said based on official records, their opponents — Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Alex Fai (費鴻泰) — spent NT$25 million (US$762,707) and NT$40 million respectively during the previous election cycle, more than 10 times the amount that they themselves had raised relying on individual contributions. They called for reforms to forbid the use of party-owned property and investments to be used to subsidise campaigns.

The alliance itself requires candidates to pay for party expenses up to what is legally permissible, as it is easier for individual candidates to raise money, Lu said.

She said that while party candidates can share expenses, they are not permitted to give money directly to the party prior to elections.

Miao said that her opponent’s fundraising efforts put her at a disadvantage.

“While I can only afford NT$1 packets of tissue paper, Lai can afford NT$10 packets of wet wipes,” said Miao, referring to gifts emblazoned with candidate information which are given out to voters.

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