Tue, Mar 06, 2018 - Page 3 News List

DPP starts Chiayi primary, results expected today

CHEATING?The two candidates accused each other of maneuvering to manipulate the polls, as four people were arrested over bribery allegations

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday began its primary election for Chiayi County commissioner, as local prosecutors arrested four suspects over alleged involvement in bribery or election betting.

A telephone opinion poll was conducted last night to decide whether the party should nominate Chiayi County Council Speaker Chang Ming-ta (張明達) or former Council of Agriculture deputy minister Weng Chang-liang (翁章梁). The results are to be announced today.

The race was expected to be a close one, with an opinion poll released in January showing Weng leading Chang by only 5.1 percentage points.

The results of the opinion poll would be sealed and sent to DPP headquarters, which is to make an official announcement. However, if the polling agency failed to collect enough valid votes by 10:30pm yesterday, a second round of opinion polls is to be conducted today, the DPP said.

The showdown between the two is widely viewed as a proxy war between Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) and DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), a former county commissioner.

Helen Chang has endorsed Chang Ming-ta’s bid and actively campaigned for him, while Weng has the support of Chen and DPP Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘), who have considerable local influence.

The DPP plans to hold primaries for Chiayi County, Kaohsiung and Tainan from yesterday to tomorrow. It decided by drawing lots yesterday to start with Chiayi County. It is to decide today when the other two would be held.

Meanwhile, Chiayi County prosecutors detained four people over alleged involvement in election betting or bribery.

The Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office had no comment as of press time last night.

Tsai, in a Facebook post, accused Chang Ming-ta’s campaign team of being involved in the bribery scheme.

“You [Chang Ming-ta] never impose any restrictions on your team. Your relationship building has become a ruleless [leadership]. You allowed those people to squander your money, which is the biggest contributing factor to Chiayi County’s growing instability,” Tsai wrote.

Chang Ming-ta’s campaign team denied any association with the suspects and accused Tsai of making groundless accusations to manipulate the election.

DPP spokesman Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said the party was paying close attention to the investigation and that it would take disciplinary action if it discovered any election violations.

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