Hsinchu City Mayor Lin Junq-tzer and five other officials have offered to relinquish posts in the local election commission, saying they are tired of the partisan struggle over the voting procedures in the coming legislative elections and national referendums.
Lin, a member of the opposition Kuomintang, told a news conference Tuesday he has decided to wash his hands of the ongoing election row since the Cabinet insisted that local election officials have no authority over elections on national levels.
Taiwan is due to elect new lawmakers and hold national referendums on whether the government should be empowered to probe and confiscate the KMT's ill-gotten assets and whether the government should be rid of corruption and pay for losses incurred by its wrong policy. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the KMT initiate the referendums, respectively.
As mayor of the city in northern Taiwan, Lin said he intends to focus his energy on promoting welfare of Hsinchu residents and considered the row over the voting system unsavory.
Lin also attributed his decision to the fact that three senior election officials Hsu Ming-tsai, Wu Hsiu-tao and Chen Chin-ho offered to quit.“Without their help, I'm afraid I cannot carry out the elections in a peaceful and effective manner.”
Soon after Lin made known his intentios, two more Hsinchu government officials Hung Kun-wu and Tu Yu-chen said they would follow suit, leaving the local election commission with only eight members.
The Cabinet has threatened to take over the power of holding the elections from local election officials if they refuse to observe the voting procedures set forth by the Central Election Commission. In addition, it has said disobedient officials may face dismissal, removal, prosecution or other punishment.
Lin said he did not notify the KMT of his decision beforehand and hoped the row can come to an end soon.
Cities and counties have vowed to adopt the two-stage format when carrying out the elections, allowing voters to elect lawmakers first and cast ballots for the referendum later.
But the Cabinet has blast the format as illegal, saying voters should collect legislative and referendum ballots and cast them into separate boxes instead.