Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Premier defends controversial new CEC chairman

Staff writer, with CNA

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday urged people not to trivialize the qualifications of new Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) simply because he used to be a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Su made the remarks on the sidelines of the opening ceremony in Taipei of InnoVEX, an exhibition of start-ups, one day after the DPP used its majority in the Legislative Yuan to push through approval of Lee’s appointment, despite opposition lawmakers trying to block the vote.

“The situation we saw on election day on Nov. 24 last year, where people had to wait in line for two to three hours and voting continued [at some stations] despite the closure of polls, drew fierce public criticism. The government is determined to prevent similar occurrences in the future,” Su said.

Lee was nominated to head the commission because he was well-regarded when he was a judge and has extensive practical experience as deputy minister of the interior, deputy minister of justice, a Yunlin County commissioner and as a lawmaker, he said.

It is exactly because the government is determined to address the root of the problems marring the elections in November last year, and prevent them from happening again, that the Executive Yuan decided to nominate Lee, Su said, without saying if other qualified candidates without partisan pasts were considered.

“Lee immediately canceled his DPP membership following the nomination, and we should not be too quick to dismiss a person’s experience and way of doing things simply because of their past party membership,” he said.

Lee was nominated in February to fill the vacancy left by Chen In-chin (陳英鈐), who resigned the day after the Nov. 24 elections and the 10 referendums that were held alongside them. His handling of the polls and subsequent vote counting was heavily criticized.

Due to Lee’s longtime affiliation with the DPP, his nomination to take over the supposedly non-partisan Central Election Commission has faced fierce opposition, and CEC member Chang Sue-chung (張淑中) resigned in protest on Tuesday.

Su said that as Lee’s nomination had received a majority of votes in the legislature, people should focus on his future performance.

“I hope his performance will satisfy the public,” he said.

Asked to comment on Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Chairman Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) accusation that Lee’s nomination was designed to ensure President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) re-election, Su said the tycoon should avoid engaging in mudslinging based only on partial information that his aides have given him, without elaborating.

Gou is seeking the nomination of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for next year’s presidential race.

The premier has not yet decided on the date on which Lee would officially take office, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.

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