Fri, Aug 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT caucus accuses mayor of vote-buying

ELECTIONEERING?The public hearings were meant to inform residents about the Taichung City Government’s policies, including the flora expo, a spokesman said

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday hold a news conference in Taipei to accuse Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung of vote-buying.

Photo courtesy of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday said that Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has been giving a variety of gifts to city residents who attend hearings on the Taichung World Flora Expo, which they said constitute vote-buying ahead of the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections.

Speaking at a news conference in Taipei, KMT caucus whip Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) displayed the items Lin has allegedly been giving residents who attended the hearings, which included shopping bags, towels, coasters, soap and rice noodles.

Among the gifts were two more expensive items, a stainless steel storage container that costs about NT$130 (US$4.24) and a personal shower set with an estimated market value of more than NT$200, Chiang said.

Gifting people these items are not only a waste of taxpayers’ money, but it is also “very inappropriate” and constitutes vote-buying, as the elections are less than four months away, he said.

Lin’s action has also breached Ministry of Justice rules that the value of promotional tools for elections must not exceed NT$30 per item, he added.

The central government has allocated a budget of NT$8.6 billion for the floral expo, with the Taichung City Government shouldering NT$4.38 billion, KMT caucus secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) said.

The National Audit Office should launch a probe into whether the city government has been wasting taxpayers’ money, in which case city government employees that authorized the procurement of the gifts must be held accountable, Tseng said.

The Control Yuan and prosecutors should also investigate whether Lin’s distribution of gifts constituted vote-buying and a breach of administrative neutrality, he said.

The Control Yuan had censured the city government for having accrued a deficit of NT$11.2 billion last year, KMT caucus deputy secretary-general John Wu (吳志揚) said, accusing Lin of “wasteful spending” to boost his chances of re-election.

“We want to remind Lin Chia-lung that the flora expo is being held for Taichung, so that the world can see Taiwan’s beauty. It is not being held for you to campaign for the year-end election,” he said.

KMT Taichung City Councilor Huang Hsin-hui (黃馨慧) said that Lin has been touting his performance at the hearings, turning the hearings into his campaign rallies.

Taichung City Government spokesman Cho Kuan-ting (卓冠廷) said that the hearings were held to help residents learn about policies introduced by Lin’s administration, and the flora expo was just one of them.

The “gifts” were promotional tools to help residents understand the policies and their rights, Cho said.

Many residents made their needs and appeals known to the mayor at these hearings, which help to facilitate the implementation of city policies, he said.

“Publicly elected officials should not distort the purpose of the hearings for elections,” he said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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