After a six-hour marathon meeting, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Central Review Committee yesterday expelled five Tainan City councilors for voting against the party line in last week’s council speaker election.
The DPP, which has 29 councilors in the 57-seat council, had expected to win the speakership race on Thursday last week, with two of the 11 independents on the council and one Taiwan Solidarity Union councilor allying themselves with the party.
However, DPP candidate Lai Mei-hui (賴美惠) lost to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) by 26 votes to 29, despite the KMT only having 16 seats.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
A DPP investigation into why it lost out in the secret voting despite the KMT holding less than one-third of the council identified Tainan councilors Chen Chao-lai (陳朝來), Tseng Wang Ya-yun (曾王雅雲), Tsai Chiu-lan (蔡秋蘭), Liang Shun-fa (梁順發) and Chuang Yu-chu (莊玉珠) as having gone against the party line.
To give the councilors a chance to explain themselves, the review committee held the meeting at the DPP’s Greater Tainan office yesterday.
Chen, who had previously announced that he is withdrawing from the party, was not present, while Liang and Tsai left the meeting before taking their turns to explain themselves.
Tseng Wang was well-prepared to present her defense, amassing more than 50 pages of evidence to clear her name, but still failed to sway the committee.
Tseng Wang maintained her innocence and said she would seek arbitration in court or sue the DPP over her expulsion.
Chuang also said that she would ask for arbitration in court, arguing that she is a loyal DPP member.
Tsai said she had stated her innocence, but the committee had already made up its mind, while Liang said he did not wish to comment further on the decision.
Committee head Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) said that since the DPP leadership had asked the councilors for a unanimous vote, if the party did not punish those who failed to adhere to the party line, then it would not be living up to the public’s expectations.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in Tainan moved to invalidate Lee’s city council speakership over vote-buying allegations.
Some DPP members have alleged that the KMT paid DPP councilors up to NT$10 million (US$316,000) to back Lee in the race.
In the run-up to the Nov. 29 nine-in-one elections last year, Lee’s campaign manager and one of his backers were detained for allegedly offering cash to voters in exchange for their support.
Additional reporting by CNA
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