The standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) has decided to disqualify 45 lawmakers representing a northeastern province over electoral fraud.
The committee voted on Tuesday to disqualify the legislators from the northeastern province of Liaoning, saying they were involved in vote buying and bribery during their election process to the NPC in 2013.
The official Xinhua news agency said the fraud took place when the deputies were campaigning to enter the NPC from the lower Liaoning Provincial People's Congress. It said the extent of electoral fraud was even greater at the provincial level, adding that 523 deputies in the regional legislature were found to be involved in election fraud. The deputies have either been unseated or resigned over the past three years.
"Unprecedented since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the situation warrants a creative institutional arrangement," said Xinhua, adding that the standing committee of the regional parliament will no longer be able to convene meetings as more than half of its 62 members have been disqualified.
Other media reports suggested those unseated represented almost half of the lawmakers from Liaoning to the NPC, China’s main legislature which has nearly 3,000 members.
The NPC lawmakers on Tuesday approved a plan for setting up a panel to help Liaoning's provincial legislature prepare for its next session. The panel would also perform some of the stalled tasks of the standing committee in the interim time.