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Court Annuls Election of KMT Legislator Chang Sho-wen


Court Annuls Election of KMT Legislator Chang Sho-wen


Sources: All Taipei newspapers


July 1, 2009


The election of KMT legislator Chang Sho-wen was annulled by the Yunlin District Court for alleged involvement in vote-buying, and he appealed the court’s ruling to the Tainan Branch of the Taiwan Provincial High Court. The appellate court yesterday upheld the lower court’s ruling. The ruling is final. According to the Public Officials Election and Recall Act, a by-election had to be held in the Yunlin County’s second district within three months.


In response to the verdict, Chang Sho-wen expressed his regrets that the appellate court had not delivered a just ruling.


After hearing the appellate court’s decision, the KMT kept a low profile and only said that it would respect the court’s ruling and that no decision had yet been made on how to select its candidate for the by-election. From the DPP, by contrast, both Yunlin County councilman Liu Chien-kuo and Yunlin County deputy executive Lee Ying-yuan immediately announced their interest in running in the by-election. The DPP election task force has scheduled a by-election coordination meeting for this afternoon, and the result is expected to come out within a week.


Chang had claimed that he was unaware of his father's scheme to buy votes for him in the election. But the High Court found that the lawmaker's argument for innocence was not convincing.


Chang won a regional legislative seat in Yunlin County's second district in January last year, but his defeated opponent, Liu Chien-kuo of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), accused Chang of vote buying and filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate his election.


The Yunlin District Court granted Liu's request Nov. 28, 2008 on the ground that Chang Sho-wen was believed to be aware of and had taken part in a well-planned and well-organized vote buying scheme masterminded by his father Chang Hui-yuan, president of an influential local agricultural irrigation association.


The elder Chang had already been sentenced to five years and eight months in jail in a separate case for colluding with the irrigation association's staff members and grassroots neighborhood chiefs in the county to canvas support for his son by offering cash to voters.


The senior Chang denied the charges and also appealed his sentence. But the imprisonment plus a fine of NT$2 million were also held up by the high court yesterday.


Chang Sho-wen is the second incumbent lawmaker who had his election annulled by the court for vote-buying after a general election early last year.


Lee Yi-ting, also a KMT lawmaker, from Miaoli County was stripped of his legislative seat after his appeal against a district court's decision to invalidate his election was rejected on Dec. 10, 2008.


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