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  • Interpretation
  • No.340
  • Date
  • 1994/02/25
  • Issue
    • Is the relevant provision of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act, which provides to the effect that the guarantee deposit for a party-recommended candidate may be reduced by half, unconstitutional?
  • Holding
    •        Article 38-II of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act provides, “The guarantee deposit for a party-recommended area or aboriginal candidate will be reduced by half provided, however, that the same shall be paid in full if the political party withdraws its recommendation.”  The said provision is tantamount to requiring a candidate who is not recommended by a political party to pay a higher amount of guarantee deposit and thus unreasonably discriminates against such a candidate.  Therefore, it is contrary to the intent of Article 7 of the Constitution and hence shall no longer apply.
      
  • Reasoning
    •        All citizens of the Republic of China, irrespective of party affiliation, shall be equal before the law, which is unambiguously provided under Article 7 of the Constitution.  While registering his or her interest in running for various public offices, a candidate shall pay a guarantee deposit whose amount will be published by the election commission in advance, provided that a candidate for village head or li head need not pay the same.  The foregoing is also clearly set forth in Article 38-I of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act as promulgated and amended on August 2, 1991.  Nevertheless, Paragraph II of the said article provides, “The guarantee deposit for a party-recommended area or aboriginal candidate will be reduced by half provided, however, that the same shall be paid in full if the political party withdraws its recommendation.”  The said provision is tantamount to requiring a candidate who is not recommended by a political party to pay a higher amount of guarantee deposit than a party-recommended candidate.  If and when the amount of the guarantee deposit published by the competent authority is too high, a person intent on running for the public office concerned may simply bring together a handful [or small group] of people and form a political party by means of placing the same on record pursuant to law, and then lessen his or her financial burden in the name of a party-recommended candidate.  As a result, smaller parties will be mushrooming, which may not be conducive to a healthy development of party politics.  Hence, the aforesaid provision of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act has imposed unnecessary restrictions on the people’s suffrage and qualifies as unreasonable discrimination.  Therefore, it is contrary to the intent of the aforesaid Article 7 of the Constitution and hence shall no longer apply as of the date of this Interpretation.
      
    •        As an additional note, the second half of Article 50-V of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act is not found to have infringed upon any constitutionally protected right of the people in providing that the party membership of a candidate who is not recommended by his or her party or whose recommendation is later withdrawn by his or her party will not be published.
      
    • *Translated by Vincent C. Kuan.
      
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