Fri, Nov 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

ELECTIONS: KMT files malfeasance charges against CEC officials

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance demonstrate outside the Central Election Commission in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday filed malfeasance charges against Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) and Vice Chairman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) for ignoring a deadline on publishing the opinions of government agencies on a referendum.

The caucus mainly took issue with the Executive Yuan’s opinions on a referendum initiated by KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) that asks people for their stance on continuing an import ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures that was initiated after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster.

The referendum proposal was passed by the commission last month.

The commission on Oct. 24 uploaded the Executive Yuan’s opinions on the referendum to its Web site and on Nov. 2 uploaded a revision to the opinions.

The Taipei High Administrative Court on Wednesday last week issued a cease-and-desist order to the commission over its revisions.

The commission breached the Referendum Act (公民投票法), which stipulates that government agencies’ opinions on referendums must be published at least 28 days before voting takes place, KMT caucus secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) told a news conference at the Control Yuan in Taipei.

Chen In-chin’s contravention of the act was malfeasance, and the caucus has urged the Control Yuan to impeach him after an investigation, Tseng said.

Although it has appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court, the commission should have complied with the court order, but instead mailed out revised referendum gazettes to district offices nationwide after receiving the ruling, KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) said.

The commission should “clean up its own mess” and shoulder the compensation for any losses suffered by the nation as a result of its actions, he said.

It would cost the government about NT$150 million (US$4.86 million) to print the original version of the gazettes and send them to constituents nationwide, KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.

Accusing Chen In-chin of breaking the law and malfeasance, Lai asked how he has the nerve to stay in his position.

Aside from the referendum on Japanese food products, the commission on Nov. 2 also uploaded the Executive Yuan’s revised opinions on six other referendums, including some asking for people’s opinion on same-sex marriage and gender education, drawing public protests.

Citing the Administrative Appeals Act (行政訴訟法), the commission on Tuesday said that the Taipei High Administrative Court should have given it a chance to testify before passing down the order, but did not, leading it to appeal.

The commission said that the ruling was issued on Wednesday last week and that by the time it received the verdict on Friday, it had already finished printing the gazettes and had mailed some of them.

The legislators later filed charges against the commission over alleged malfeasance and contraventions of the act with the Taipei District Court.

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