Archive for the ‘2009 county assembly’ Category

Chiayi City Speaker Arrested

March 12, 2010

The speaker of the Chiayi City council has been arrested.

Apparently, the going price for a vote in the speaker election is NTD 3 million (USD100,000).

The vice speaker tried to convene the city council so that it would be in session and the speaker would not be arrested, but he was unable to get enough people together on short notice.  (Note: I’m not sure what kind of immunity city council members have.  I don’t think they have full immunity the way that legislators do.  I guess they just can’t be arrested while in session.)  The other members of the city council all wore yellow ribbons today in support of their colleague.

Chiayi City Speaker questioned

March 10, 2010

The speaker of the Chiayi City council Lin Chengxun 林承勳 was detained and questioned yesterday on suspicion of bribery in the speaker election.  Lin is an independent who defeated the KMT nominee with DPP support.

former speaker arrested

March 8, 2010

Former Changhua County Assembly Speaker Bai Hongsen 白鴻森 was arrested in Xiamen last week and has been repatriated to Taiwan to serve his prison sentence for corruption in office.   I wonder if it is a coincidence that, after four months on the lam in China, Bai was arrested the day after his son was elected vice-speaker of the Changhua County Assembly.  (The new speaker was Bai’s former vice-speaker and a mere 31 years old, so he could also be a Bai  protege.)  Technically speaking, Bai was an independent, he isn’t the KMT’s responsibility.  However, this deniability is see-through.  Bai was elected with to the speaker’s post with the KMT’s full support.  It’s just speculation, but could the KMT, the PRC, and Bai have agreed that the arrest should wait until after the speaker and vice speaker elections, thus protecting all their interests?

Hunting season is now open

March 3, 2010

A day after he was elected speaker of the Pingdong County Assembly, Lin Qingdu 林清都 has been detained and questioned on suspicions that he bought votes in the speaker election.  Lin’s unsuccessful running mate, Wang Qimin 王啟敏, and several other members of the county assembly are also involved.   Lin is thought to have employed Zeng Yixiong 曾義雄, an ally in the county assembly,  to buy votes on his behalf at the rate of NT500,000 (USD 16,000) per vote.

speaker and vice-speaker elections

March 3, 2010

The newly elected members of the county assemblies were sworn in on Monday.  Their only order of business for the day was to elect a speaker and vice-speaker.  Traditionally, this election has been the single most corrupt moment in Taiwanese politics.  County assembly members tend to run much more clientelistic campaigns than politicians at higher levels do.  One way they recoup their expenses is by selling their votes in the speaker and vice speaker elections.  This is further complicated by the penetration of organized crime.  Three decades ago, organized crime largely participated by sponsoring candidates.  However, in the wake of government crackdowns in the late 1980s, organized crime figures began running for office themselves in order to get a bit of protection from the local police.  During the 1990s, speaker elections often pitted one crime leader against another, and there were constant threats of bribery, blackmail, kidnapping, violence, and other types of coercion.  In Yunlin County in 1998 (if memory serves correctly), 2000 police were mobilized to provide security outside the county assembly, and everyone entering was searched for weapons.

The speaker elections are also the easiest for prosecutors to crack down on.  Since there are a limited number of people involved and everyone is easily identifiable, prosecutors have been able to track bank accounts and document cases of vote-buying.  The extent to which prosecutors have investigated and brought charges, and to which convictions have been upheld as they worked their way through the judicial system has traditionally been seen as an indication of the government’s sincerity in cracking down on money politics.

With that introduction, here is the list of newly elected speakers and vice-speakers:

county office name name Party
Ilan County Speaker 張建榮 Zhang Jianrong KMT
Vice 李清林 Li Qinglin KMT
Jilong City Speaker 黃景泰 Huang Jingtai KMT*
Vice 曾水源 Zeng Shuiyuan KMT
Taoyuan County Speaker 邱奕勝 Qiu Yisheng KMT
Vice 李曉鍾 Li Xiaozhong KMT
Hsinchu County Speaker 陳見賢 Cheng Jianxian KMT
Vice 林為洲 Lin Weizhou KMT*
Hsinchu City Speaker 謝文進 Xie Wenjin IND
Vice 孫錫洲 Sun Xizhou IND
Miaoli County Speaker 游忠細 You Zhongxi KMT
Vice 陳明朝 Chen Mingchao KMT
Changhua County Speaker 謝典霖 Xie Dianlin KMT
Vice 白閔傑 Bai Minjie IND
Nantou County Speaker 何勝豐 He Shengfeng KMT
Vice 潘一全 Pan Yiquan KMT*
Yunlin County Speaker 蘇金煌 Su Jinhuang KMT*
Vice 林逢錦 Lin Fengjin IND
Chiayi County Speaker 余政達 Yu Zhengda IND
Vice 張明達 Zhang Mingda DPP
Chiayi City Speaker 林承勳 Lin Chengxun IND
Vice 邱芳欽 Qiu Fangqin IND
Pingdong County Speaker 林清都 Lin Qingdu KMT
Vice 劉水復 Liu Shuifu IND
Taidong County Speaker 饒慶鈴 Rao Qingling KMT
Vice 陳宏宗 Cheng Hongzong KMT
Hualian County Speaker 楊文直 Yang Wenzhi KMT
Vice 賴進坤 Lai Jinkun KMT
Penghu County Speaker 劉陳昭玲 Liu Chen Zhaoling KMT
Vice 藍俊逸 Lan Junyi KMT
Jinmen County Speaker 王再生 Wang Zaisheng IND
Vice 許建中 Xu Jianzhong KMT
Lianjiang County Speaker 陳貴忠 Chen Guizhong IND
Vice 曹以標 Cao Yibiao IND
* beat the official KMT nominee

The following draw on reports from the United Daily News.

The new speaker of Taidong County, Rao Qingling饒慶鈴, is the daughter of longtime KMT legislator Rao Yingqi 饒穎奇.

In Lianjiang County, the outgoing speaker retired, and several members wanted to replace him.  Since everyone in Lianjiang County is blue, the KMT did not nominate anyone.  One of the people hoping to contest the speaker election was Xie Chengchun 謝承春.  However, Xie is under investigation for vote buying, and the local prosecutors detained him.  As such, he was unable to show up and take his oath of office, and he was ineligible to contest (or vote in) the speaker election.

In Jilong City, the DPP got played.  It had previously cooperated with KMT member Zhang Fangli 張芳麗 to make her speaker.  However, as a condition for nomination this time, the KMT made Zhang promise not to cooperate with the DPP.  The DPP instead threw its support to another KMT member, Huang Jingtai黃景泰.  In return, the DPP was to get the vice-speaker position.  Huang was indeed elected over the KMT nominee, but the coalition fell apart in the subsequent vice-speaker election which the KMT nominee won.  The DPP caucus immediately accused Huang of betraying them and brought out a document signed by Huang and one other KMT ally to show their duplicity.  They also charged Mayor Zhang Tongrong 張通榮of having overseen the negotiations but then not upholding his end of the bargain.  Huang and his ally replied by saying that they had indeed voted for the DPP nominee, and it must have been other people who did not sign the agreement who changed sides.  Mayor Zhang basically said, “Leave me out of this.”

The same thing happened in Yunlin County.  The DPP allied with KMT member Su Jinhuang 蘇金煌, agreeing to support Su as speaker in exchange for the vice-speaker position.  Su was elected speaker, but the DPP vice-speaker candidate lost to the KMT nominee.

The ground shifted in Chiayi City.  The Xiao family has run the Chiayi City Council since 1993.  There are three brothers, Xiao Dengwang 蕭登旺, Xiao Dengshi 蕭登獅, and Xiao Dengbiao 蕭登標.  They have backgrounds in organized crime.  Xiao Dengbiao was jailed in 1998, and Xiao Dengshi was one of the main figures organizing the recent baseball gambling operation.  Xiao Dengbiao was Chiayi County Assembly Speaker in the mid and late 1990s.  In Chiayi City, the speaker position was held for several terms by Xiao Dengwang and then by Xiao Dengshi’s wife, Cai Guisi 蔡貴絲.  The KMT nominated Cai for another term as speaker, but the DPP-supported Lin Chengxun林承勳 had roughly the same amount of support.  The deciding vote belonged to DPP member Huang Yingzhi 黃盈智.  Huang had been out of the country until after Xiao Dengshi was arrested and was rumored to have been “detained” by “friends” so that he would not be able to vote.  (This is a classic tactic to ensure that a bought vote stays bought.  Get them out of the country where your opponent can’t influence them, and only bring them back on the morning of the election inside your entourage.)  Huang did show up, accompanied by Lin, and he cast the deciding vote.  Lin won by one vote.  However, Huang then voted against the DPP candidate for vice-speaker, allowing the KMT nominee to win the spot.  Huang admitted this vote, and claimed the KMT nominee had helped him in the past and he was merely doing the right thing.

This is slightly different from the Jilong and Yunlin cases because this was a DPP member betraying his own party, not KMT or independents reneging on their end of the bargain.  It is also something of a departure in that the person who certainly looks to have been paid off is a DPP member.  In the past, these stories have always centered around KMT and independent assembly members.

New Changhua County vice-speaker Bai Minjie白閔傑is the son of former speaker Bai Hongsen 白鴻森.  Bai Minjie is only 34, so let’s assume that his father is still the power behind the throne.  This would be fine except that, unless I’m mistaken, Bai Hongsen has been convicted of something and is on the lam in China.

In Ilan, the DPP had several members desert.  The DPP has 15 members, but its nominee for speaker only got 9 votes.  Since most of the members showed their ballots to the camera before putting them into the ballot box, they know who the 6 disloyal members are.  (One voted for himself.  This is also a classic tactic for a person who has been bought off.  It allows the member to have a plausible cover story to protest his innocence while still helping the other side.)

Incumbent Nantou speaker He Shengfeng何勝豐 joined the KMT upon being re-elected.  He has been an independent.

In Hsinchu County, former DPP county assembly member, legislator, and county party branch chair Lin Weizhou林為洲 was elected vice-speaker.  Lin left the DPP during his term in the legislature (I don’t remember why) and served out his term as an independent.  He joined the KMT after being elected to the county assembly as an independent.  However, he was not the KMT’s nominee for vice-speaker.  According to the UDN report, KMT nominee Zhang Zhihong 張志弘 took the office for granted after being nominated and went overseas on vacation.  Lin easily defeated him.  Sounds fishy to me.

The KMT has sunk to pathetic depths in Chiayi County.  Not only did the KMT lose both the speaker and vice-speaker positions to the IND-DPP coalition, they lost in landslides.  The vote was 27-9 in the speaker election, and 30-7 in the vice-speaker election.  There are 10 KMT members in the assembly.  However, the KMT county party office “explained” that no one had been disloyal since one of the KMT members was very close to the speaker and three were close to the vice-speaker.  Yikes.

There was one touching story from Hsinchu City.  Six-term KMT member Luo Keming 駱克銘, who is suffering from advanced oral cancer, tried to get out of his hospital bed to vote for the KMT speaker nominee Zheng Chengguang 鄭成光.  Luo and Zheng have been friends for 45 years.  Luo was brought to the city council building on a stretcher, but was unable to complete the oath of office.  Since he was using a respirator, and the doctors feared fatal consequences if it were removed, he was unable to make any sounds.  He was only able to move his lips while reading the oath.  The person officiating the oath ruled that he had not completed it, so Luo kept trying.  Zheng finally stepped in and asked Luo to go back to the hospital.  Zheng desperately needed Luo’s vote, as he eventually lost to a DPP-IND coalition.