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KMT, TPP heads investigated for breaking Taiwan election laws

Hou, Ko, Chu, Ma listed as potential suspects for breaching election law during 'closed-door talks'

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Ko Wen-je, Ma Ying-jeou, Hou Yu-ih, and Eric Chu. (KMT photo)

Ko Wen-je, Ma Ying-jeou, Hou Yu-ih, and Eric Chu. (KMT photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei prosecutors are investigating four politicians involved in negotiations to form a “blue-white” (KMT-TPP) presidential alliance for potentially violating election regulations.

Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), KMT Chair Eric Chu (朱立倫), former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT, and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chair and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) were listed on Monday (Dec. 4) as defendants in a case involving the possible breach of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選罷法), reported Liberty Times.

Taiwan Republic Office Director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) filed a complaint with the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office alleging that Hou, Chu, Ma, and Ko had violated the act's collusion clause. The complaint said that through the coordination of Ma and Chu, who acted as intermediaries, Hou and Ko used the "allocation of rights of various ministries" as the subject of the agreement.

The complaint also claimed that the behavior of the KMT and the TPP amounted to a blatant public division of spoils, "seriously insulting the intelligence of the Taiwanese people."

On Nov. 20, Ko delivered a speech at Kainan University called "Inclusive Society and National Governance," in which he lamented problems in Taiwan's political system. Regarding blue-white cooperation, he said the biggest issue was the different DNA of the parties.

Ko claimed that while the TPP believed in following the rules, the KMT believed in "back door maneuvering." He also said that "if there is blue-white cooperation, just signing that (coalition government agreement) would be problematic because this is called a collusive bribery agreement and would be labeled as political spoils."

In this regard, attorney Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) was cited as saying that during this secret meeting, if someone promised Ko to give up running for president in exchange for "illicit benefits" from positions of power such as vice president or ministry head, it would be a violation of Article 84 of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Last week, Ko claimed he was offered US$200 million (NT$6.3 billion) to switch to a vice presidential candidate role, reported TVBS.

Huang also wrote on Facebook that Ko had publicly alleged that during the four-person, closed-door negotiations on Nov. 15 "the signing of the coalition government agreement alone is problematic because it is a collusive bribery agreement." However, since the content of the closed-door meeting was closed off to outsiders, there is a lack of direct evidence.

Therefore, the testimony of Ko regarding the meeting's content and agreement is crucial for the prosecution's investigation into bribery, said Huang.