China's top legislature expels 45 officials for vote buying By Joanna Chiu, dpa

Beijing, ACCRA, Sept 14 – (dpa/GNA) –
China’s national legislature has expelled 45 lawmakers representing the
northeastern province of Liaoning for “unprecedented” election fraud,
state media reports said Wednesday.

The move shows the Chinese Communist Party
has “zero tolerance for bribery and vote buying,” party mouthpiece
People’s Daily said in an editorial on Wednesday.

The Standing Committee of the National
People’s Congress convened for a special session on Tuesday, voting to unseat
the 45 deputies elected by Liaoning provincial legislature for vote buying and bribery
during the 2013 election, according to Xinhua news agency.

Rather than open elections, the almost 3,000
members of the national legislature are elected from provincial, county and
township governing bodies.

The congress, decried as a “rubber
stamp” parliament by critics, is showcased by the Communist one-party
state as evidence of its development of “socialist democracy.”

A total of 523 members were implicated in
the election fraud and have either resigned or been sacked.

National lawmakers said a panel would be
formed to temporarily exercise some of the Liaoning legislature’s functions and
powers as it was no longer capable of forming a quorum.

State broadcaster CCTV said the case was
unprecedented in the People’s Republic of China, founded in 1949.

“The system invites bribery,” said
Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based veteran independent political commentator.

“The voting progress is very
intransparent. National People’s Congress delegates are voted from provincial
delegates, and the provincial delegates are voted from the city delegates. So
it is an inner circle,” Zhang told dpa.

Entrepreneurs in China are keen to get into
this inner circle in order to gain a title that can help them “pull
strings with politicians and increase their social status,” Zhang said.

The scandal is the latest blow to Chinese
president Xi Jinping’s efforts to clean up corruption within the party.

The incident comes nearly three years after
518 of 527 members of the Hengyang Municipal People’s Congress in southern
Hunan province were found to have taken bribes to vote for candidates for the
provincial legislature.  

GNA

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