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Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 22:03

45 NPC deputies unseated for fraud

By Cao Yin

China's top legislature on Tuesday declared the disqualification of 45 national legislators from Northeast China's Liaoning province for their involvement in unprecedented electoral fraud.

A report by the National People's Congress Credentials Committee said it believes that the acts by the 45 deputies violated the electoral law, and thus their election should be nullified by the NPC Standing Committee.

An NPC Standing Committee session that closed on Tuesday afternoon voted to unseat the 45 NPC deputies, who were elected from the Liaoning Provincial People's Congress, for vote-buying and bribery during the election in 2013.

Lawmakers also voted to set up a panel to prepare for a new session of the Liaoning provincial legislature.

A total of 523 deputies to the Liaoning Provincial People's Congress were implicated in the election fraud and have now either resigned or had their qualification as deputies terminated. No additional details, such as whether these deputies will face further punishment, were released.

Given that among the 62 members of the Standing Committee of the Liaoning Provincial People's Congress, 38 have been disqualified and cease to serve on the Standing Committee, the committee is now unable to convene to perform its duties.

"The Liaoning electoral fraud has been the first such case that ever happened at a provincial-level election since the founding of New China," Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said at Tuesday's NPC session.

"It is a challenge to the people's congress system, a challenge to socialist democratic politics and a challenge to the country's laws and Party disciplines," Zhang said. "It has touched the bottom line of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and the ruling of the Communist Party of China."

Zhang said the thorough investigation of the illegal election represents the central leadership's firm determination to govern the country by the rule of law and to administer the Party strictly, which maintains the dignity and authority of both the people's congress system and the socialist rule of law.

Since a new round of people's congress elections will start this year, Zhang called on people's congresses at all levels to "rethink profoundly the case in Liaoning and learn a lesson from it".

"Under no circumstances should money for votes be brought in elections," he said.

People's Daily, the official newspaper of the CPC, will publish an opinion article on Wednesday under the headline "Zero Tolerance for Electoral Bribery", according to a report by China Central Television on Tuesday.

"We must unswervingly uphold and improve the people's congress system, and provide a strong institutional guarantee for the country's long-term stability and prosperity," the opinion piece says.

The NPC Standing Committee session usually convenes every two months, but it can also be convened provisionally as needed.

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