Friday, July 11, 2014

KMT should apply ‘Keelung standards’ in Taitung, Miaoli

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should apply the same standards when replacing its candidates in November’s seven-in-one elections because they are involved in allegations of corruption, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

“If Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰) is to be stripped of his nomination for the Keelung mayoral election due to his role in an alleged corruption case, why are candidate for Taitung County commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) and candidate for Miaoli County commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) able to retain their nominations?” DPP spokesperson Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) asked at a press conference in Taipei.

Huang Ching-tai’s nomination was revoked at a KMT Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday because an ongoing legal case could further jeopardize the party’s campaign in northern Taiwan following a series of corruption scandals.

Justin Huang, who is seeking re-election, was indicted in August 2008 on charges of taking bribes from two pharmaceutical companies when he served as a KMT legislator between 2004 and 2005.

The case still remains open after six years.

KMT Legislator Hsu Yao-chang was sentenced to nine years in prison for receiving bribes of up to NT$10 million (US$332,000) last year.

The KMT appears to have adopted different standards by revoking Huang Ching-tai’s nomination in Keelung, but keeping Justin Huang and Hsu Yao-chang as candidates, Hsu Chia-ching said, adding that it is unfair to voters in Taitung and Miaoli counties.

If the KMT actually revoked Huang Ching-tai’s nomination because of his low support rating, rather than his alleged corruption, Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), seeking re-election, and Sean Lien (連勝文), the party’s candidate for Taipei mayor, could also be in danger of being stripped of their nominations, since both are trailing their opponents by more than 20 percentage points in opinion polls, Hsu Chia-ching said.

“The DPP couldn’t care less about the KMT’s replacement candidate as we have confidence that our candidate will be the best option for Keelung City residents,” she said.

Meanwhile, DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) demanded that the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office explain whether it had tapped the switchboard of DPP headquarters in Taipei as part of its investigation into official documents that went missing from the Presidential Office during the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Several former DPP government officials who work for the party, including DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), have been summoned by the division for questioning.

The DPP has accused the division of conducting an illegal investigation because it is not authorized to probe cases unrelated to high-ranking government officials and corruption.

The party also said that the case is resurfacing now, after it was first reported back in 2011, suggests it could be a politically motivated plot against members of the DPP.