Tainan DPP speaker, nine others indicted over vote rigging

Tainan City Council Speaker Chiu Li-li (???) and Deputy Speaker Lin Chih-chan (???) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), three city councilors, and five others were indicted on Thursday for their roles in rigging the southern city's council speaker and deputy speaker elections in December.

The three city councilors charged were Li Wen-chun (???) and Lee Chen-kuo (???), who were expelled from the Kuomintang (KMT) soon after they broke party ranks to vote for Chiu in the elections on Dec. 25, as well as independent City Councilor Huang Li-chao (???), Tainan prosecutors said.

The five other individuals who have been indicted are former DPP Central Executive Committee member Kuo Tsai-chin (???); Lin Shih-chieh (???), the father of DPP City Councilor Lin Yi-ting (???); Yuan Shan International Development Co. Chairman Yang Chih-chiang (???);uang Yi-ping (???); and Lee Chen-kuo's wife Kao Mei-hsien (???), according to the prosecutors' statement.

Tainan City Councilor Chang Shih-hsien (???), who was also kicked out of the KMT for backing Chiu's bid for speakership, is also being investigated over the incident, according to the statement issued on Thursday.

Chiu defeated Kuo Hsin-liang (???), an independent former speaker supported by the KMT, in a 36-21 vote at the 57-seat council, in which the DPP holds 28 seats, the KMT 12, independents 13, and the remaining four held by three small parties.

The scheme was headed by Kuo Tsai-chin, Chiu, and Lin Chih-chan, with the trio using tactics including vote buying, intimidation, vote trading, and making offers to persuade some KMT and independent city councilors to vote for the DPP nominees, prosecutors said.

Among the city councilors targeted by the trio was Fang Yi-feng (???) of the KMT.

According to the prosecutors, ahead of the election, Yang, acting under instructions from Kuo Tsai-chin, invited Fang to meet up and bribed him with money to vote for himself in the elections, but Fang rejected the offer, prosecutors said.

Fang was then asked to meet Huang Yi-ping and Lin Shih-chieh in a van and was told to be absent from the vote or vote for himself rather than Kuo Hsin-liang, which scared him into making a report with the police and using his office at the city council building as a temporary shelter before the election day, prosecutors said.

Earlier last month, the DPP had decided to suspend the membership of Chiu and Lin for three years after they were released on bail for a second time amid an investigation into their alleged involvement in this case.

On Thursday, DPP spokesperson Chang Chih-hao (???) said the party respected the judiciary investigation and expected the suspects to be treated fairly.

KMT spokesman Lu Ching-wei (???) said the way the DPP responded to the case indicated that the pledge by DPP Chairman Lai Ching-te (???) to stamp out corruption was just "a gesture."

When Lai, who is Taiwan's vice president, was Tainan mayor in 2015, he staged a 232-day boycott of city council meetings to protest alleged vote-buying by the then speaker from the KMT Lee Chuan-chiao (???), but now, the DPP allows Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-cher (???) to attend city council meetings as usual, Lu said.

The DPP has fallen short of expectations by not demanding the resignation of Chiu and Lin in order to facilitate a re-election and not even apologizing for the scandal, Lu said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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