Sixty-six minor-party and independent candidates standing in the Nov. 24 city and county councilor elections have been involved in criminal cases, including 14 corruption cases and 42 cases of election fraud or breach of election law, the New Power Party (NPP) said yesterday.
A number of candidates were convicted or indicted for drunk driving, two for improper influence, three for coercion, two for intimidation or extortion, one for murder and one for attempted murder, NPP data showed.
While most have been found guilty, some are still being tried, the list showed.
The only minor-party candidates listed were Kaohsiung City Councilor Wu Ming-tsu (吳銘賜) of the Taiwan Solidarity Union and Yilan County Councilor Chen Chieh-lin (陳傑麟) of the People First Party, who are running for re-election.
Wu, who left the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in July, has been embroiled in an improper influence case and Chen has been charged with corruption.
Last month, the NPP examined all Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the DPP city and county councilor candidates and found that 67 from the KMT and 37 from the DPP have been embroiled in criminal cases, NPP Taichung chapter head and Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) told the conference.
Combined statistics on the KMT, the DPP, minor parties and independents show that at least 170 councilor candidates in the elections have stood accused in criminal cases, Hsu said.
Pingtung County had the highest number, with 18 candidates involved in criminal cases, followed by Kaohsiung with 17 and Taoyuan with 14, he said, adding that 13 candidates in New Taipei City also had tainted records.
The NPP has last month called on KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is also the DPP chairperson, to explain why they had nominated candidates convicted of crimes, but neither has offered an explanation, NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said.
“The two major parties have opted to dodge the issue as much as they can while focusing on less relevant issues, even though this is highly important to the nation’s democratic development,” he said.
By exposing candidates’ criminal records, the NPP hopes to help voters make better decisions on election day, Hsu said.
“Voters should be able to examine candidates’ records and history, rather than simply seeing however they decide to present themselves,” he said.
The government should disclose criminal records to voters, Hsu said, adding that the Central Election Commission should consider adding such information on election notices, alongside the candidates’ platforms.
Both lists of candidates can be found on the NPP’s Facebook page.
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