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Polling stations for Tsai recall halved

Polling stations for Tsai recall halved

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Activists slammed election officials Wednesday for only planning to open 102 polling stations for the February 14 recall of Kuomintang legislator Alex Tsai, or half the amount of the previous election.
Campaigners succeeded in submitting more signatures than the required minimum of 13 percent of eligible voters in Tsai’s election constituency in the Taipei City districts of Nangang and Neihu. Attempts to launch similar recall votes against KMT lawmakers Wu Yu-sheng and Lin Hung-chih failed.
However, prominent student activists criticized election officials for only setting up a limited number of voting booths. The Central Election Commission was acting like the hitman and the bodyguard for bad lawmakers, leading activist Huang Kuo-chang said.
Campaigners said the CEC notified them on Tuesday that voters would have 102 locations where they could cast a ballot in the nearly unprecedented recall vote. However, last November 29, voters in the election for mayor, city councilors and neighborhood wardens had 258 voting locations at their disposal in the same Nangang and Neihu area, or more than double the number.
The 2012 presidential election saw 197 polling centers in the area and the 2008 legislative elections 191, critics said.
The change meant that voters would have to spend more time and cover more distance to participate in the recall, which is not mandatory, activists said. As a result, the willingness of eligible voters to cast a ballot would be lower, putting up an additional obstacle to the already high threshold for recall votes, the campaigners said.
Huang said the CEC had already made the recall move more difficult when in an earlier phase, it changed the endorsement forms. At the time, critics said the new forms would pose a danger to privacy, as signatories could read the private details of previous campaign supporters.
The fact that the recall needed at least 50 percent of votes to pass also posed an unfair threat to the right of the people to voice their democratic will, Huang said.
Meanwhile, Tsai announced that he would not run for re-election if he won the recall vote. The statement triggered a run by other would-be lawmakers, the Chinese-language United Evening News reported Wednesday.
Former KMT lawmaker and controversial talk show guest Chiu Yi was reportedly planning a comeback, while some members of the Taipei City Council were also interested, reports said.
The United Evening News said the choice of legislative candidates would be one of the major tasks facing new KMT chairman Eric Liluan Chu. The New Taipei City mayor is the only candidate in Saturday’s leadership election by members of the ruling party.


Updated : 2021-09-21 16:41 GMT+08:00