The Obasang Alliance, a group of nonpartisan mothers running for city or county councilor seats, yesterday rallied outside the Central Election Commission in Taipei, calling for reforms to the electoral system, which requires candidates to pay a deposit of between NT$120,000 and NT$200,000 (US$3,897 and US$6,496) to run for a seat in a local council.
The alliance, which in December last year announced its plan to contest the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections, has 21 councilor candidates in eight cities and counties.
Alliance members are mostly stay-at-home mothers — “obasang” is a Japanese term meaning “older women” — who rely on donations to pay the deposits.
Photo: Chang Ching-ya, Taipei Times
Regulations say a deposit of NT$120,000 is required to contest a local council seat, or NT$200,000 in a special municipality, which is the same as required for a legislative seat.
The deposit is returned in full only if the candidate receives enough votes.
“To afford the deposit in a special municipality, an average 23-year-old woman would have to eat and drink nothing for nine months. If a 30-year-old woman wants to run for mayor in a special municipality, which requires a deposit of NT$2 million, she would have to spend nothing for nearly 50 months,” said Joyce Hsu (徐書慧), who is running for a Taipei City Council seat representing Shilin (士林) and Beitou (北投) districts.
Citing research by the Swedish Institute For Democracy and Electoral Assistance, which reviewed election requirements of 173 nations, the alliance said only 20 nations require candidates to pay an election deposit or registration fee.
The deposit is unreasonably high, even compared with nations with similar requirements, the alliance said.
In Canada and Australia, where incomes are much higher, the deposit to run for legislator is equivalent to NT$30,000, while in New Zealand it is only NT$9,000, it said.
The alliance also said the commission should return the deposit, as long as the candidate has not breached any election laws.
By keeping the deposit of a candidate who does not get enough votes, the commission might be punishing candidates with more revolutionary or ambitious platforms, while rewarding conservative politicians, said Liu Hsin-yi (劉欣宜), who is running for a New Taipei City Council seat.
“The commission should change its rules to encourage diversity in elections,” Liu said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan