Fri, Sep 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NTU election rerun order panned across the spectrum

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Education’s decision to order a rerun of National Taiwan University’s (NTU) presidential election from the five finalists of the previous election has met with criticism from the school’s presidential election committee, professors and students.

Critics of NTU president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) yesterday called for more drastic measures to fix the procedural flaws in the election.

Kuan was elected president on Jan. 5, but the ministry in May demanded a re-election on the grounds that there was a conflict of interest, as Kuan was an independent director at Taiwan Mobile Co and company vice president Richard Tsai (蔡明興) was on the election committee.

The university in June refused to launch a re-election and instead filed an administrative appeal requesting that the ministry honor the election results and appoint Kuan.

Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) on Wednesday offered an alternative to resolve the standoff by asking the university to relaunch the final round of the presidential election and prevent Tsai from voting to avoid a conflict of interest.

The ministry is “making us take unethical action,” committee spokeswoman Yuan Hsiao-wei (袁孝維) said.

Yeh has not explained the legal basis for requesting a do over and it is unclear why the committee should redo the election with five candidates instead of more, she said.

The ministry has broken the law and is now asking the committee to do the same, she added.

Asked about Yeh’s proposal in an interview with the Chinese-language United Daily News, Kuan said: “Is that not basically the same thing as before? Is that not a form of political intervention aimed to undermine the university’s autonomy?”

“They are good at playing both sides, but people will be able to see through that,” he added.

The ministry should immediately appoint Kuan according to Article 9-1 of the University Act (大學法), NTU’s Action Alliance for University Autonomy said in a statement.

If the ministry cannot offer a legal basis for ordering the election be reheld among the five finalists, it would have no right to make such a request, it added.

The ministry is apparently planning to appoint Kuan by pretending that the procedural flaws can be fixed, NTU professor emeritus Ho De-fen (賀德芬) said.

Ho on Tuesday held a news conference with a group of NTU professors and alumni urging Yeh to remove acting NTU president Kuo Tei-wei (郭大維), who she accused of influence peddling.

“Why is Tsai the only one who should refrain from voting?” Ho asked.

The ministry has turned a blind eye to the election committee’s influence peddling and other illegal deeds, she said.

The NTU students’ association said the university should relaunch the election starting with a candidate review, instead of the final round of voting.

A new review is necessary, because some of the candidates are no longer willing to take part, while some committee members have been replaced, the association said.

NTU yesterday said it would address the issue once it receives a formal notice from the ministry.

“The university has always adhered to the principle of university autonomy and respected the independence of the election committee,” it added.

Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan

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