The Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) has been vacant for more than three months. Premier Su Tseng-chang recently nominated former Yunlin County Magistrate Lee Chin-yung for the position. Though it drew pushback from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), on Apr 9, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pushed the issue forward to the review committee.
During the nine-in-one local elections and the ten referendums that took place last year, many local voting booths were crowded with large number of incoming voters. And the results of ballot counting were announced while people were still voting at some locations, drawing questions to the elections' outcome. Chen Ying-chien, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) at the time, resigned from his post following the elections. Premier Su Tseng-cheng nominated former Yunlin County Magistrate Lee Chin-yung as the new CEC chairperson. The review process of his nomination has been stalling at the Legislature. On April 9, Lee make an appearance at the Legislature to meet with members of both the ruling and opposition parties and to push forward the review process.
I hope the nomination could proceed smoothly according to the parliamentary process, and that it could move to the stage where members of the review committee cast their vote. The date of the upcoming general election of president and of legislators has already been set to January 11 of next year. That means there are only 8 months left, the schedule is very tight.
The nomination of Lee Chin-yung drew strong backlash from legislators of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT). KMT legislator Johnny Chiang strongly criticized the nomination, saying Lee is not qualified for the position and that he will propose a law that aims to prevent Lee's nomination. The law will stipulate that those nominated for positions in the CEC must not have hold any position in a political party or have taken part in an election for public servants, or positions in the government or state-owned companies three years prior to the nomination. The goal is to prevent political interference in the CEC.
There has never been a case where a person who had held a position in a political party gets nominated to be the chairperson of the CEC. Is the lesson we learned from Chen Ying-chien not enough?
He has experience in elections, unlike past CEC Chairpersons who lack experience in the actual running of elections. I don't think this would be a problem for Lee Chin-yung.
KMT legislators voiced their opposition to the nomination at the Legislature. They cited reasons such as potential under-the-table bribery and Lee Chin-yung's affiliation with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and called for the DPP to retract their nomination. However, their proposal was blocked by DPP legislators who occupy a bigger number of seats in the Legislature. After being nominated, Lee Chin-yung said he has canceled his position in the DPP to show that he is non-partisan, and that he will keep his promises and act independently as the chairperson of CEC.