Nepotism in Taidong = Good, Nepotism in Hualien = Bad
The Ministry of Interior recently accused newly elected Hualien County Commissioner (and 'ex' KMT loyalist) of conducting a fake divorce in order to appoint his 'ex'-wife as Deputy County Commissioner. As reported in the Times:
Newly elected Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi’s (傅崑萁) appointment of his ex-wife as deputy commissioner is illegal, Minister of the Interior (MOI) Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday.Perhaps following this pressure from the MOI, today Fu reversed his appointment of his ex-wife: (taiwan News via CNA)
Jiang made the remarks after a meeting with officials from the Executive Yuan, the Central Personnel Administration, the Control Yuan and the Ministry of Justice.
Fu, elected Hualien County commissioner on Dec. 5 as an independent after being ousted from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), assumed office on Sunday and announced that his former wife, Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), would serve as deputy commissioner.
He said they had completed divorce proceedings three days earlier. Divorces can be completed at a household registration office once a couple presents an agreement signed by two witnesses.
The MOI initially said Fu may have violated Article 7 of the Public Officials Conflict of Interest Prevention Act (公職人員利益衝突迴避法), which bans public officials from taking advantage of their power to benefit themselves, their spouses or family members living under the same roof.
Jiang said that Fu and Hsu were still married because their divorce was deemed “fake,” adding that Fu’s appointment of Hsu was illegal.
Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-chi said Wednesday that he will revoke his earlier appointment of his "ex- wife" as his deputy in line with a decision by the Ministry of the Interior.
Fu, who was elected by a landslide in the Dec. 5 local elections running as an independent after being expelled by the ruling Kuomintang, supposedly divorced his wife Hsu Chen-wei Dec. 18 and then picked her as his deputy just three days later.
Fu's move was interpreted as a "well-calculated attempt" for his wife to hold on to the post on his behalf in case he has to serve a jail term mid-way through his tenure -- he is appealing a six-and-a-half-year sentence for violating securities trading regulations.
Fu said in a press conference that he was "surprised" to find the high administrative efficiency of the central government by deciding in just one day in an inter-ministerial meeting that his divorce and appointment of Hsu were invalid, and he questioned whether the marital status of other Taiwanese people are subject to approval by inter-ministerial meeting.
Despite Fu's revocation of Hsu's appointment, Ma Yi-kung, a member of the Control Yuan -- the country's top watchdog agency -- said he will still conduct an investigation into the case and that a fine of between NT$1 million and NT$5 million will be imposed on Fu if he is found to have broken any laws.The pan-blue United Daily News compared Fu to Chen and asked how they could be so popular: "Schizophrenic 'Pan-blue' Voters"
Pan-blue supporters think the pan-green camp's support for disgraced former President Chen Shui-bian is incredible, but it is also incredible to see them support Fu Kun-chi, originally a member of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) who ran as an independent to win the race for magistrate by a huge margin in Hualien county.Yet there was no such verdict from the MOI when the then Taidong County Commissioner Wu Chun-li (吳俊立) pulled almost the exact same move after he was indicted in 2005:
Chen was engulfed in corruption, but Fu has been implicated in two economic crimes. Fu's involvement in insider trading has seriously undermined the order of financial markets and the interests of the public.
We wonder why pan-blue voters in Hualien, a pan-blue stronghold, would condemn Chen and condone Fu? If we look at pan-blue voters who support Fu and deep-green voters who support Chen, we will see how similar they are. This is not an error of democracy, but a tragedy of populist politics.
Now Fu has unveiled his ace up his sleeve by appointing his ex-wife Hsu Chen-wei, whom he divorced only days before his inauguration, as his deputy.
The move has demonstrated that he is preparing to serve his term in jail after a local court makes a final ruling on his appeal of an insider trading conviction and that he will pull the strings from behind bars.
Such a self-staged drama should not be allowed to pass, and the Interior Ministry has no reason to accept such an outrageous appointment.
The KMT should also engage in soul-searching. Both Taitung and Hualien have the same drama being played out -- using divorce to manipulate the political situation -- but the KMT has watched it happen and let it continue. How can it face the simple people in the two counties and the support of pan-blue supporters?
Wu was convicted of corruption by the Taiwan High Court but has appealed the ruling. In the meantime, he has also been charged with vote-buying and is currently out on NT$1 million (US$29,800) bail.
By law, Wu would be immediately suspended from his position upon his swearing-in. Knowing this, Wu divorced his wife Kuang Li-chen (
鄺麗貞) on Monday to sidestep a restriction preventing a commissioner from selecting a relative or spouse as his deputy.
Wu appointed Kuang before Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Walis Pelin (Jerome Keating's take on events:
瓦歷斯貝林), who administered his swearing-in, could stop him.
However, Pelin said that Wu's suspension was effective immediately upon his being sworn in and that he therefore did not have the right to name a deputy.
The Taitung County Government said that Kuang and its Secretary-General Lai Shun-hsien (
賴順賢), who was appointed as the acting commissioner by the Cabinet, both reported for duty but that all of the official documents were reviewed by Lai.
Although Wu is suspended, he can still run in a by-election by resigning and retaking the oath of office if re-elected.
Even though Wu thought his actions were valid, DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (
徐國勇) said that he had violated the Public Officials Conflict of Interest Prevention Law ( 公職人員利益衝突迴避法) by naming someone related to him, making him subject to a fine of up to NT$5 million.
Although Wu divorced his wife on Monday, Hsu said that it should be considered invalid because it violates Article 87 of the civil code for plotting a fake divorce.
Wu Chun-li (吳俊立), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen's (鄺麗貞) ex-husband, had been the KMT Taitung County commissioner, but after being found guilty of corruption and serving a jail sentence — he appealed, but it was overthrown — he could no longer serve as Taitung County commissioner.Could it be that the difference between the two cases was one where a DPP Central Government was attempting ham fistedly to prevent corrupt candidates from nepotism and the other where a KMT Central Government is trying to punish the candidate that ran as an independent (although facing charges and having a criminal record at the time) against the central party's chosen candidate, former Minister of Health Yeh. Again, the wheels of justice certainly seem to move faster when the KMT has a few bones to grind. Continuing thanks go to the current administration's party for their determination to bury not only Chen but also his family and friends in eternal legal damnation; your actions have helped the DPP transition to Tsai's new and seemingly much more capable leadership.
Stymied in his efforts to serve as commissioner, he wanted to keep the lucrative position in the family and arranged for Kuang, his wife and a former airline stewardess, to succeed him.
Again the law stepped in — because of her relationship as his wife, Kuang was forbidden from running for office.
Not to worry. Now comes the interesting twist.
As her jailed husband was an impediment blocking her from running for office, Kuang quickly divorced him, qualifying her to run.
In the meantime, I keep hearing the words Chen Chu and President and 2012 cropping up in conversation, or is that just me trying to generate enthusiasm for the idea?