Over 550 Chinese lawmakers disqualified for graft

Over 550 lawmakers in a Chinese city were today dismissed or disqualified after being implicated in an electoral fraud scandal as part of the government`s wide-ranging crackdown on corruption.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 28, 2013, 23:21 PM IST

Beijing: Over 550 lawmakers in a Chinese city were today dismissed or disqualified after being implicated in an electoral fraud scandal as part of the government`s wide-ranging crackdown on corruption.

The Hunan provincial legislature said 56 elected deputies of the provincial people`s congress had offered bribes to 518 lawmakers of Hengyang municipal people`s congress and another 68 staff to gain entry to the body.

The total amount of money involved exceeded 110 million yuan (about USD 18.14 million). The provincial legislature disqualified the 56 deputies during a plenary meeting, while the county-level legislative body of Hengyang City accepted the resignations of 512 lawmakers who took bribes.

Provincial authorities began to receive complaints of vote buying in February and a special team was set up to investigate the allegations, the Hunan Daily said.

China does not have fully democratic one-man, one-vote elections. Provinces, cities, counties and other administrative districts all have their own People`s Congresses, and they generally act as a rubber stamp for the ruling Communist Party`s decisions rather than providing a forum for debate or making policies.
Still a seat on any people`s congress in China is highly coveted. The competition, though limited, to become lawmakers in some places has opened the door to vote buying.
President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping crackdown on corruption since taking power in March, warning the problem is so severe it could threaten the party`s survival.