KMT presses DPP to clarify its stance on Chen’s acquittal

The China Post news staff

Former President Chen Shui-bian’s acquittal in one of his corruption cases has sent the ruling Kuomintang pressing the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party to clarify its stance on the ex-leader’s case. Kuomintang spokesman Su Jun-pin yesterday demanded DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ying-wen state whether she actually thinks that her predecessor has been vindicated by the Taipei District Court. The DPP declined to comment on Chen’s case, but said it would respect the outcome of the appellate trial that could take place in the future. The district court Friday cleared Chen and his wife Wu Shu-jen of corruption charges for taking a total of NT$610 million from two financial holding companies. The court, determining that the money was political contribution, also acquitted 19 co-defendants of money laundering charges. The prosecution has questioned the logic of the ruling, but has yet to file an appeal with the Taiwan High Court. The verdict has sent the KMT and DPP wondering how it may impact on the upcoming mayoral elections. The KMT spokesman said it remains to be seen whether the acquittal will have an impact on the elections. He said he would shut up if most of the voters thought Chen was innocent. “But is that really so?” Su asked. Many from the DPP have demanded that Chen be vindicated. “We hope that Su Tseng-chang and Tsai Ying-wen can clearly state whether this is a vindication for Chen,” said the spokesman.

The KMT needs to know whether Su and Tsai really think Chen was innocent despite taking the money, the spokesman said. The Chen verdict is a “double-edge sword” and KMT will need to see whether its election strategy may have to be adjusted, he said. The DPP, whose two leaders, Su and Tsai, are running for the mayoral seats in Taipei and Xinbei (Taipei County), claimed the party had yet to start assessing the impact of the ruling. But he said the mayoral elections are all about the candidates’ administrative capabilities. “If others have an opinion on former President Chen Shui-bian, we’d respect the future appellate trial,” said party spokesman Tsai Chih-chang. DPP Chairwoman Tsai said she respects the rule of law, but hopes the judiciary can handle different opinions. She said that the Chen case will not have an impact on the Xinbei race. The DPP candidate in Taipei City also said he respects the due process. But he said he has not seen the full text of the verdict and would not make a comment basing on “subjective feelings.”