The Economic Democracy Union yesterday called for stronger legal measures to counter electoral interference and to bolster campaign transparency, after the government introduced a draft law on election advertising earlier this month.
Taiwan’s currently effective and proposed election laws contain a number of loopholes that weaken their potential to protect election integrity, union researcher Ou Hsu-shao (歐栩韶) told a news conference held by the think tank at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
A draft bill about election advertising proposed by the Central Election Commission on Sept. 5 implies that its application starts from 28 days before presidential elections and 10 days before legislative elections, potentially creating a large window of opportunity for meddling, she said, adding that China’s Taiwan Affairs Office or the Beijing-backed Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland could be involved in Taiwanese elections up to the final stages of political campaigns, before the application of the bill.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
The draft should be amended to state that its regulations enter into effect immediately following the election bulletin’s posting, she said.
Provisions in the Public Officials Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) do not have such a short period of applicability, Ou added.
Taiwan’s campaign contribution laws require only electoral candidates and political parties to register donations and establish a special bank account for campaigning, think tank convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said, citing the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法).
The government is not authorized to regulate funds by a third party that are utilized for election activities or advertising, he said, adding that political action pacts are already an important source of funding for Taiwanese politicians.
In addition, the law should be amended to include financial disclosure requirements for financiers and organizers of campaign activities and influencers on social media, Lai said.
Public relations and advertising agencies should be subjected to the same regulations as traditional media outlets, if they are involved in political campaigns, he said.
Such agencies should be required to disclose their employer or the sources of funding in the absence of an employer, Lai said.
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