The Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office has filed corruption charges to invalidate the victory of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Tainan City Councilor Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) in the Nov. 29 election, while prosecutors also began investigating the Greater Tainan City Council speaker’s election amid allegations of vote-buying involving some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) city councilors.
Lee was elected as speaker for the council on Dec. 25, with the DPP alleging that some DPP city councilors voted for Lee in return for money offered by the KMT, which holds only 19 seats in the 57-seat city council.
Lee called the move a political one spurred by the DPP due to the party’s loss of the speaker’s position.
The office filed the charges on the same day the DPP’s Central Review Committee expelled five Tainan city councilors for voting against the party line in last week’s council speaker election.
The office on Wednesday said that prosecutors have secured evidence that Lee’s campaign director, Huang Cheng-ching (黃澄清), and campaign chief executive, Yeh Chih-cheng (葉枝成), had held meetings and distributed NT$2 million (US$63,000) from campaign activity funds to local vote brokers before the election.
Huang had provided NT$300,000 to warden candidate Lee Li-hua (李麗華), who then gave out NT$5,000 per household as bribes for votes, the office said.
Prosecutors filed corruption charges against Lee Chuan-chiao seeking to invalidate his victory in the city councilor election.
The Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) stipulates that “a lawsuit claiming an electee is invalid” must be filed in the governing court within 30 days after the list of electees is announced.
The court would have to close the case in its first and second instances within six months, and “[the election lawsuit] shall be adjudicated conclusively in the second instance, and no lawsuit of rehearing may be filed,” it says.
In other words, it could take up to a year before there is a decision on whether Lee can keep his councilor seat.
The office asked the council for the ballots used in the speaker election on Wednesday night, but that was rejected on the grounds that, according to the council, the responsible official was out of the country and that the party caucuses’ ballot monitors were absent.
The prosecutors said that they would visit the council again on Monday and that they have stationed police at all of the building’s entrances to make sure that the sealed ballot box is not tampered with.
As of Wednesday, the district prosecutors’ offices in Greater Tainan, Greater Taoyuan and Changhua, Taitung and Nantou counties have filed lawsuits to invalidate the elections of city councilors, township councilors and village wardens.
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