CNA

TAIPEI–Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te (���M�w) said Tuesday he will not attend any more city council meetings until the vote-buying allegations against speaker Lee Chuan-chiao (������) have been addressed in the judicial system.

Lai said he and other local government officials are boycotting the meetings in a protest gesture to uphold the dignity of Tainan and create a new political culture in the southern city.

��I will not enter the city council again until the case is cleared up by the judiciary,�� the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayor said at a news conference.

Lee, a member of the Kuomintang (KMT), is under investigation for allegedly buying votes in both the Nov. 29 city councilor election and the Dec. 25 speaker election.

On Monday, investigators seized the ballots from the speaker poll, after filing a petition with the court on Dec. 31 to invalidate Lee’s election as a city councilor.

Lee won the speakership in a 29-26 vote with two abstentions in the 57 member city council, which comprises 16 seats held by the KMT, 28 by the DPP, and 13 by minor parties and independents.

The DPP has accused the KMT of paying some DPP councilors up to NT$10 million (US$316,000) to back Lee in the speakership vote.

Tainan is a stronghold of the DPP and has been run by the party uninterrupted since 1997. Speaker Willing to Visit Lai to Address Deadlock Lee said Tuesday he will pay a visit to the southern city’s mayor if necessary, an attempt to end the standstill after the city government said it will not work with the speaker over allegations he won his position through vote buying.

Lee said he was surprised by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayor, Lai Ching-te, who said earlier in the day he ��will not enter the city council again until the case (against Lee) is cleared up by the judiciary.��

Lee argued the mayor should set aside his personal stance on the matter in order to keep the city moving and serve the public interest, as a stalemate between the city government and council would hurt the interests of Tainan’s 1.88 million people.

He said he would visit Lai in person to try and hammer out a solution if necessary.

Lee is under investigation for allegedly paying off voters to elect him to the council on Nov. 29, and then paying off councilors to elect him as speaker on Dec. 25.

He won the speakership with 29 votes in the 57 member city council, even though the KMT only holds 16 seats and its major rival, the DPP, holds 28.

On Monday, investigators seized the ballots from the speaker poll, which came after they filed a petition with the court on Dec. 31 to invalidate Lee’s election as a city councilor.

Tainan is a stronghold of the DPP and has been run by the party uninterrupted since 1997.