Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) yesterday called on Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to resign as speaker of the Tainan City Council and urged lawmakers to close a legal loophole that might allow Lee to run in a by-election for his seat on the council.
In accordance with the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), Lee, who on Friday was sentenced to a four-year prison term by the Tainan District Court for vote-buying in the city council’s speakership election on Dec. 25, 2014, was suspended from his position as speaker.
Lee was also found guilty on Jan. 21 this year of buying votes in November 2014 during his campaign for city councilor.
The ruling invalidated his electoral victory, but Lee still holds a seat representing the city’s Yuching District (玉井), because he appealed the ruling.
The Tainan City Government said that since Friday it has received many telephone calls from angry residents complaining that Lee is still receiving a monthly salary of about NT$370,000 as well as other subsidies and allowances, because he still has a seat on the council.
Lee yesterday said that he is considering running in a by-election, but has not made a decision yet, after reports surfaced that he would resign before the second ruling on that case to take advantage of a legal loophole.
If the court upholds the guilty verdict in the second ruling, Lee would lose his seat due to the nullification of the council election results, and he would also then not be qualified to run in a by-election.
Therefore, to avoid the ruling going against him and losing everything, some political analysts have speculated that Lee might soon resign from the council and run in a by-election for a councilor seat, so that he can continue to influence the council.
In response to media requests for comment, Lai yesterday asked lawmakers to address the issue.
“It goes against all sense for Lee to be allowed to do this. He can still survive in politics by resigning before the second ruling, then go on to win a seat in a by-election. Lawmakers must amend the election laws to close the loophole,” said Lai, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Lai called on the court to expedite the process and make a second ruling on Lee’s case, so that the issue might be resolved quickly.
After yesterday’s ruling, Tainan City Council Deputy Speaker Kuo Hsin-liang (郭信良) of the DPP is to be the council’s acting speaker.
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