News24

Taiwan vows vote-buying crackdown

2011-09-01 11:34

Taipei - Taiwan on Thursday vowed a zero-tolerance approach to vote-buying ahead of presidential elections, unveiling a special unit to investigate endemic bribery on the island.

"No matter how big or how small the case is, we will investigate any suspicion of vote-buying to the very end," the supreme prosecutors' office said in a statement.

"We will take action no matter the identity, status or party affiliation of the suspect."

The task force does not have a fixed number of members, but will be able to draw on anti-corruption specialists among prosecutors and police officers as required by the caseload, an official said.

President Ma Ying-jeou is running for a second four-year term against opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen in January 2012 polls, when voters will also elect a new parliament.

Vote-buying is widespread in the young democracy, with strong roots at the local level.

More than 100 people were arrested for alleged vote-buying during regional elections late in 2010, and some candidates reportedly offered up to Tw$5 000 ($170) per vote.