Misconduct allegations mar KMT polls for CSC

WINING, DINING::Accusations of a vote-trading alliance and the removal of a candidate for alleged bribery overshadowed, but did not stop the party electing a new committee

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Sep 08, 2013 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday elected 32 members to its Central Standing Committee (CSC) amid a spate of allegations of vote-swapping schemes and bribery.

More than half of the so-called “26 Alliance” — a coalition of 26 committee candidates that a group of younger party members accused of banding together to ensure each other’s election — were elected.

The alliance reportedly includes KMT legislators and committee members Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊櫻), Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) and Ho Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳), as well as fellow CSC members Yao Chiang-lin (姚江臨) and Liu Da-bei (劉大貝).

Huang topped the polls again this year, receiving 1,100 of the votes. She was followed by Lee, Yao, Yang and Liu.

Committee member Hsu Hsien-rong (許顯榮), who is also alleged to be a member of the 26 Alliance, was not elected.

The alliance members have been accused of pledging to procure votes between 20 and 40 party delegates to secure the 520 to 1,000 votes needed to be elected.

Leaders of local factions in southern cities are reportedly behind the alliance’s formation, which is seen as part of efforts to deepen and extend their influence ahead of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) leaving office in 2016.

Ma, who is also KMT chairman, has met with internal challenges to his chairmanship since he was re-elected to the post earlier this year. Amid low approval ratings in his role as president, several younger KMT members known to have close ties to former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文) called for Ma not to run prior to the poll.

Ma’s rival for the party leadership, committee member Hsieh Kun-hong (謝坤宏), whose candidacy was declared invalid by the party — citing insufficient support from the public — was also re-elected to the committee yesterday.

In addition to the vote-swapping allegations, yesterday’s election was also overshadowed by the KMT’s forcible removal last week of Central Committee member Pan Chun-rong’s (潘俊榮) from the race over accusations of bribery.

Pan allegedly hosted dinner banquets for party delegates last week during which he gave each attendees a red wine gift set worth NT$1,500.

The 32 CSC members were elected from 45 candidates by more than 1,000 party delegates. The turnout was 94.66 percent.

The CSC’s 32 members meet weekly to approve major policies and the body had been regarded as the highest decisionmaking authority in the party.

However, the committee’s role was weakened after Ma was first elected party chairman in 2005 and began meeting with party officials to discuss major decisions in a separate weekly meeting.