The Control Yuan yesterday voted 9-3 to impeach former Central Election Commission (CEC) chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) for allegedly publishing a revised version of the Executive Yuan’s opinions on referendums weeks before several referendums were held alongside the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24 last year.
The members who voted in favor of impeachment were Eugene Jao (趙永清), Chang Kuei-mei (仉桂美), Chiang Chi-wen (江綺雯), Fang Wan-fu (方萬富), Chiang Ming-tsang (江明蒼), Yang Fang-ling (楊芳玲), Tsai Pei-tsun (蔡培村), Lin Ya-feng (林雅鋒) and Chang Jen-hsiang (章仁香). Lin Sheng-fong (林盛豐), Tsai Chung-yi (蔡崇義) and Kao Yung-chen (高涌誠) voted against.
Control Yuan member Gau Fehng-shian (高鳳仙) initiated an investigation after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) and family values group Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance in November last year filed a complaint accusing Chen of breaching the Referendum Act (公民投票法) by publishing the material.
The investigation found that the commission on Oct. 24 published an initial version of the opinions regarding the referendums and on Nov. 2 last year published a second version for referendums Nos. 9 to 15, despite the act requiring them to be released 28 days in advance, the Control Yuan said in a written statement.
Chen did not convene a meeting on the matter before republishing the opinions as required by the Organic Law of the Central Election Commission (中選會組織法), the Control Yuan said.
While the Taipei High Administrative Court on Nov. 7 ruled that the commission’s republished opinions were illegal, the CEC did not withdraw them until Nov. 20, after its appeal was dismissed, the Control Yuan said.
To correct its mistake, the commission spent more than NT$9 million (US$295,994) to publish the original version of the opinions in major newspapers, causing the government financial loss and damaging its credibility, the Control Yuan said.
Chen said he respects the Control Yuan’s authority, but added that rules in the act are flawed.
Before republishing the opinions, he had consulted the commission’s Department of Planning and confirmed that there was precedent, he said, adding that the government should explain what referendum results mean as necessary.
The act forced the commission to hold 10 referendums alongside the local elections, giving it limited time to prepare, he said.
It is “regrettable” that the Control Yuan is blaming problems caused by a poor system on him alone, he said.
Of the seven referendums, three were about how same-sex marriage should be handled and two were about whether homosexuality should be taught at elementary and junior-high schools.
One was over whether to maintain restrictions on food imports from Japanese regions after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster and one was about whether to the national team should use “Taiwan” at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
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