The Ministry of the Interior on Thursday finalized draft amendments to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法) and the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) targeting vote-buying, gambling and foreign actors meddling with local elections.
The amendments would introduce a prison term of up to five years for bookmakers and a possible fine of up to NT$500,000 (US$16,757), while people who place bets on the outcome of an election or recall vote would face detention, a prison term of up to six months or a fine of up to NT$100,000.
To encourage political parties to nominate candidates responsibly, the amendments would introduce a fine of NT$500,000 to NT$50 million for parties whose candidates engage in vote-buying, regardless of whether they later withdraw from a race.
Photo: Huang Hsin-po, Taipei Times
To prevent disinformation from influencing voters, the proposed amendments borrow from US legislation a provision requiring advertisements for elections and recall votes to specify who paid for them.
The Central Election Commission would be authorized to formulate rules on the ads and would be required to keep records.
The draft amendments would ban ads paid for by foreign entities and afford stakeholders the right to file cease-and-desist letters to entities that run such ads against them.
Due to criticism of a requirement for people aiming to run for president or vice president to collect signatures on paper, the proposed amendments would allow people to provide their signatures electronically, while retaining the option for traditional signatures.
One amendment aims to close a loophole in Article 27 of the Political Parties Act (政黨法) that has allowed parties to jointly nominate a candidate, preventing their dissolution for not fielding a candidate for four consecutive years.
A candidate can only be nominated by one political party, the proposed amendment says.
The amendment would only apply to local and legislative elections, not presidential elections, the ministry said.
The Political Parties Act does not limit the number of parties that a person can join, which created the loophole, Civil Affairs Department Director Lin Ching-chi (林清淇) said.
The draft amendments would be forwarded to the Executive Yuan and, if approved, would then be delivered to the Legislative Yuan for review, the ministry said.
If passed into law, the amendments would apply to the 2022 local elections, it said.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly