Matching its threat of punishment with action, the Central Election Commission Friday removed an opposition local election chief and vowed to replace more defiant officials who refuse to enforce the one-stage voting format in the upcoming legislative elections and national referendums.
CEC Secretary-general Teng Tien-yu said his agency has temporarily replaced Taipei City Election Commission chief Wu Hsiu-kuang with Tsai Tien-chi on grounds Wu had repeatedly said the capital city would go ahead and implement the two-stage voting system.
The CEC also promoted Hsinchu election commission member Wu Chiu-ku to the post of the city's commission chief after Hsinchu Mayor Lin Junq-tzer decided not to concurrently head the commission Wednesday.
The personnel reshuffle will take effect immediately, in line with revised rules governing the makeup of local election commissions. The CEC passed the revision Wednesday to provide the agency the legal foundation to rein in unruly local election authorities upon the Cabinet's approval,
Cities and counties under opposition control have pledged to ignore the one-stage format and adopt the two-stage system under which voters will receive legislative election ballots and insert them into boxes and move on to collect referendum ballots if they bother to.
The Cabinet has blast the two-stage procedure as illegal on grounds it will reveal voters’intentions at odds with the principle of secret vote. Under the one-stage format, voters will receive legislative election and referendum ballots at tables 50 centimeters apart and cast them into separate boxes.
Opposition politicians have argued the one-stage system will create unnecessary confusion among the voters.
Teng said the CEC will not rule out removing all opposition election officials if they continue to challenge the one-stage format.