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February, 23, 2017

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KMT amends voter eligibility rules after widespread internal criticism

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The opposition Kuomintang amended regulations for internal party elections on Wednesday, following criticism from Central Standing Committee member Yao Chiang-lin (姚江臨) and a recommendation from the party's Miaoli County division.

Yao had called the previous voter eligibility rules for internal party elections "unreasonable."

In a statement released Wednesday, the KMT said that it would publicly release membership figures regularly to show its commitment to a "fair and transparent" election for the party's chairmanship and representatives.

The statement explained that the party has implemented stronger administrative procedures on party membership applications and voter eligibility.

The number of members eligible to vote will be published every Tuesday and Friday, with the statistics updated until Jan. 20.

The statement came as 661,078 of the party's 887,861 members who have yet to pay their membership dues for 2017 faced being ineligible to vote.

Prior to the change made late Wednesday, incoming and returning party members wishing to vote would have had to pay their NT$200 membership fees before Jan. 20 — four months prior to the May 20 election — to "safeguard against voter fraud," the KMT said.

​ Regarding the party's membership fees, Yao has called the policy "unreasonable."

'Raises questions of morality'

Yao said that the as the party had only amended its bylaws regarding annual fees recently, many new party members were unaware that they would have to pay again.

Not only would new members be disqualified from voting without prior warning, having to pay their annual fees twice in a short duration might "raise questions of morality," Yao said.

KMT's Miaoli County office also proposed an amendment to the rules.

The leaders of the Miaoli office submitted a proposal to the Central Standing Committee, suggesting that the deadline for fee payments be extended from Jan. 20 to March 31.

The recommendation was taken up by the Central Standing Committee, with the KMT declaring late Wednesday that the deadline would be extended to March 31.

'Be an exemplary political party': Hau

Meanwhile, leadership contender and KMT Deputy Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), appealed to KMT constituents, encouraging honesty and for voters to refrain from committing fraud.

Hau said that it is important to enforce a clean election, so that the party and its candidates may show what an exemplary political party the KMT is to the rest of the nation.

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