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Attempt to recall Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan fails (update)

2015/02/14 20:55:18

Taipei, Feb. 14 (CNA) An attempt to vote Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan (蔡正元) of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) out of office failed Saturday because of a low voter turnout, according to the Central Election Commission.

The commission said it would officially confirm the outcome of the vote Feb. 16.

By the time the 135 polling booths closed at 4 p.m., only 24.98 percent of the 317,434 eligible voters in the 4th Constituency, including the Neihu and Nankang districts, had turned out to cast their ballots, the Taipei City Election Commission (TCEC) said.

In order to vote Tsai out of office, the law requires a majority against him in a vote with a turnout of more than 50 percent of the eligible voters.

A total of 79,303 people cast their votes, with 76,737 in favor of removing Tsai and 2,196 against the proposal. There were 370 invalid votes, according to the TCEC.

In response, Tsai hailed the results as a victory for democracy and rule of law and expressed his appreciation for the support of the Neihu and Nankang residents.

KMT spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) accused Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of "setting the worst example for democracy" for knowingly breaking the law by campaigning for the recall motion.

DPP spokesman Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬), meanwhile, said that despite the failure of the recall attempt, the people have jointly shown "the power of citizens" with their votes.

He also said the result demonstrates that the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act is behind the times and should be amended.

The campaign to recall Tsai was launched by the Constitutional 133 Alliance as part of its Appendectomy Project -- a play on words that sounds like "cutting out the blue (KMT) legislators" in Chinese -- which targets certain legislators that the group said are simply following the party line without regard for their constituents.

The group has panned Tsai for supporting a cross-Taiwan Strait trade-in-services agreement Taiwan signed with China in mid-2013, a deal they argue has many loopholes unfavorable to Taiwan.

Tsai also supported a crackdown by riot police on students who stormed the Executive Yuan during a student movement in protest of the trade pact in early 2014, and has shown bias against new immigrants, according to the group.

According to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, a recall motion can only be initiated once against the same elected official during the same term in office.

The term of incumbent legislators will last until Jan. 1, 2016.

(By Huang Li-yun, Tseng Ying-yu, Tang Pei-chun, Kelven Huang, Sophia Yeh, Maubo Chang and Y.F. Low)

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