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Fourth KMT legislator loses seat over vote-buying

Fourth KMT legislator loses seat over vote-buying

The Taiwan High Court yesterday declared the election of ruling Kuomintang lawmaker Liao Cheng-ching void because of vote-buying in the fourth such decision within a year.
The court ruling will force a by-election in Liao's Taoyuan County constituency within three months.
The High Court rejected the lawmaker's appeal against a ruling by a lower court based on reports that he had offered more than NT$1 million to the leader of a neighborhood warden association. Liao wanted the man to hand NT$30,000 to each warden in return for promises to rally voter support in his favor.
He also gave NT$100,000 to a former village chief for distribution to other voters, the court said.
A separate ruling by a criminal court last month sentenced Liao to three and a half years in prison, but he appealed the verdict with the High Court.
Liao told a news conference he was innocent and had no money to buy votes. He said he would ask the government's top watchdog body, the Control Yuan, to investigate whether the prosecutors were politically biased against him.
His Democratic Progressive Party opponent in the 2008 election, Kuo Jung-tsung, welcomed the High Court ruling, saying it proved he lost the election from someone who played false.
Liao, who once served in the administration of then-Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, was the fourth KMT lawmaker in less than a year to lose his seat in vote-buying scandals. Colleagues from Miaoli, Yunlin and Taichung County suffered the same fate.
DPP chief whip Chai Trong-rong repeated recent opposition demands that the cost of a by-election should be borne by the party whose member was responsible for the vote-buying.
Tuesday's ruling also came amid allegations of vote-buying against the KMT's Central Standing Committee. The party declared the election of two CSC members invalid and suspended another 12 yesterday. A complete re-election of the top party body is scheduled for Nov. 14.
The party is already facing an uphill battle the campaign for Dec. 5 county and city elections.