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DPP county, city chiefs urge 'fair crackdown' on bribery

2012/01/11 19:52:46

Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) The mayors and magistrates of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) released a statement Wednesday in which they urged the judicial authorities to conduct fair and strict investigations into bribery in the Jan. 14 elections.

DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai and spokeswoman Kang Yu-cheng charged at a press conference in which they presented the statement that bribery rumors reported in the local media mostly occurred in administrative regions governed by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), including Taichung City, Changhua County and Nantou County.

They urged the judicial authorities to "conduct a strictcrackdown on bribery and safeguard the country's democracy."

Lawyer Lin Hong-wen said local prosecutors should only conduct searches in candidate's campaign offices with proper authorization and reasons.

He was referring to a Jan. 10 case in which district prosecutors in Yunlin County, southern Taiwan, searched the campaign headquarters of DPP legislative candidate Lee Chin-yung on a bribery tip-off.

Investigators said later that they did not find anything illegal.

Lee blasted the investigators for "allegedly influencing the elections with their judicial power." Lee and his supporters have since been on a hunger strike outside the prosecutors' office, demanding an apology from the prosecutors.

The statement was co-signed by Pingtung Magistrate Tsao Chi-hung, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te, Chiayi Magistrate Chang Hwa-kuan, Yunlin Magistrate Su Chih-fen and Yilan Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien.

Meanwhile in northwestern Taiwan, DPP Chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, who is of Hakka descent, expressed optimism at a rally that she will garner at least 45 percent of the votes in Miaoli County's Hakka communities -- traditionally seen as KMT strongholds.

To drum up support for Tsai, minor opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kung-huei voiced his hope that day that former President Lee Teng-hui -- the TSU's spiritual leader -- will personally attend a campaign rally to endorse Tsai before election day Jan. 14.

Lee, Taiwan's first directly elected president who had a cancerous tumor removed in early November, published a hand-written letter in local newspapers Wednesday in which he threw his weight behind Tsai.

On Taiwan's outlying island of Kinmen -- another traditional KMT "vote barn" -- Kinmen County Councilor Chen Tsang-chiang of the DPP got down on his knees to beg for votes for Tsai.

He went so far as vowing to kowtow every three steps all the way from his office to a local temple if Tsai garners more than 3,000 votes in the constituency, which has a population of 83,949 eligible voters for the presidential election.

Meanwhile, more than 20 Kaohsiung city consultants and subdivision chiefs and DPP party members showed their support for independent legislative candidate Chen Chih-chung, son of former President Chen Shui-bian, who is currently jailed for corruption.

Chen Chu, who has attended campaign events in support of the DPP's candidate, Kuo Wen-cheng in the same constituency, said she was in a difficult position but respected their decisions.

(By Lin Shen-hsu, Sophia Yeh, Chen Shou-gow, Wang Shwu-fen, Nancy Sha
and Jamie Wang)
ENDITEM/J