TAIPEI (CNA) — The Central Election Commission (CEC) said Thursday that it will review the legality of former President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) bid to become a lawmaker, after Chen agreed a day earlier to be put on a legislator-at-large list of a minor political party.
Chen, who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence but has been released on medical parole due to his declining health, sparked controversy a day earlier after he agreed to be nominated by the Taiwan Action Party Alliance, a fringe pro-independence party, as a legislator-at-large candidate.
In response, CEC Vice Chairman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) told reporters before a legislative session Thursday that the party has yet to register its legislator-at-large candidates with the CEC, but once the party has submitted its candidate list, the CEC will carry out a review in accordance with the law.
Under Article 26 of the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act, a person who has been sentenced for corruption or who has been convicted of a crime and has not yet finished his or her prison term cannot be registered as a candidate, he noted.
However, he stressed, the CEC will not make assumptions on any individual case and will conduct the review in line with the law.
Chen, who served two terms as Taiwan’s president until 2008, was embroiled in corruption scandals that led to several indictments and a 20-year prison sentence.
He was in prison until January 2015, when he was released on medical parole.
Since his release on medical parole, Chen has been vocal on social media and other publications and has made a number of public appearances.
He has been more open in recent months in defying the so-called “Four Noes” required of him by Taichung Prison as part of his medical parole: no onstage appearances, no speeches, no political expression, and no interviews with media.
Meanwhile, Thursday, the fringe New Party, which promotes unification with China, released its list of 10 legislator-at-large nominees, with former lawmaker Chiu Yi (邱毅) topping the list.
Chiu, a supporter of China’s unpopular “one country, two systems” policy, voluntarily dropped out of the opposition Kuomintang’s (KMT’s) legislator-at-large list Nov. 15, after his nomination drew outrage from within the KMT.
New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) said Chiu and the New Party “are on the same side” when it comes to pursuing peaceful unification with China and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Founded in 1993, the New Party currently does not have a seat in Taiwan’s 113-seat Legislature.