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Taiwan's Ruling Party Chairman Resigns

The chairman of Taiwan's ruling party resigned Saturday after prosecutors indicted him on graft charges, while the island's vice president, facing similar charges, said she would fight the allegations.

Taiwan's Ruling Party Chairman Resigns
Yu Shyi-kun, chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, denied charges that he misused funds during his tenures as premier and presidential chief of staff between 2000 and 2005.

However, he resigned Saturday pending trial at the Taipei District Court, according to a statement from his office. The resignation was effective immediately, the statement said.

Prosecutors on Friday indicted Yu and Vice President Annette Lu on charges they collected receipts from unidentified parties and used them to claim reimbursement.

They said Lu received about 5.6 million New Taiwan dollars $170,000 in reimbursement payments between 2000 and 2006, while Yu got $72,700 between 2000 and 2005.

Lu said the indictment struck her like "lightning" and had smeared her clean-cut image.

"The prosecutors are trampling on my integrity," she told reporters late Friday, adding she had demanded prosecutors make public the testimonies they gave at hearings.

No date has been set for trials.

Prosecutors also said they found no reason to bring charges against DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh and his vice presidential running mate, Su Tseng-chang, following months of investigation.

The decision clears the way for Hsieh to lead the DPP in the 2008 presidential elections against Ma Ying-jeou of the main opposition Nationalists.

Earlier this year, Ma faced graft charges that he misused a special fund during his tenure as Taipei mayor between 1998 and 2006. A district court accepted his arguments that Taiwan law recognized the fund as an official subsidy and acquitted him, but prosecutors filed an appeal to a higher court.

The cases were pressed separately by the rival parties in the run-up to the presidential election.

On Saturday, Hsieh said investigations into the expense funds were a waste of judiciary resources, and pledged to declare an amnesty if he were elected next March.




AP
Last Mod: 22 Eylül 2007, 10:36
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