Taiwan's cabinet has replaced two opposition election committee chiefs with members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in what the Kuomintang claims is an attempt to reduce its chances in the upcoming legislative elections. But one of the replacements was forced to resign yesterday - just one day after his appointment as the election committee chief of the central city of Taichung. It was revealed that Hsueh Chiu-fa has been charged with running an illegal gambling operation. Mr Hsueh has denied any wrongdoing but his indictment makes him ineligible to serve on the election committee. 'I don't want to fuel the ongoing fight and hope to maintain peace,' he said. The KMT has accused the cabinet of trying to use its own people to sabotage the opposition's chances in the January 12 poll. The DPP government has also sacked Taipei election committee chief Wu Hsiu-kuang and replaced him with DPP member Tsai Tien-chi, who has been convicted of violating securities law. Yesterday, a group of KMT legislators accused the government of trying to undermine the elections by appointing people with legal problems. 'How can people believe they would remain fair in handling election affairs, as they themselves have credibility problems?' asked KMT legislative caucus head Kuo Shu-chun. The KMT claims that by appointing its own people to big KMT-controlled constituencies like Taichung and Taipei, the government aims to manipulate voting procedure in favour of DPP candidates. The government has pushed through a one-step voting procedure in which people will be asked to receive and cast ballots for the elections and two referendums at the same time, despite KMT attempts to separate the plebiscites. The DPP has initiated a referendum asking voters whether the KMT should return 'ill-gotten assets' it acquired during its time in government between 1949 and 2000. Pundits say holding the referendum alongside the legislative elections will encourage voters dissatisfied with the corruption of the former KMT government to vote, thereby increasing the DPP's election chances. They say replacing the election committee chiefs and holding the referendums are just strategies to increase the DPP's chances in the legislative race, seen as a prelude to the more important presidential election in March. Other gimmicks include branding late KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek, a dictator and murderer of tens of thousands of people in Taiwan. It is part of a campaign to remind voters of the ugly record of the KMT. 'Such tricks have backfired,' political commentator Yang Sheng-hung said. By directly ordering the replacement of the opposition election chiefs and demonising Chiang, the DPP had given the impression it did not care what people thought, making it no different from Chiang, he said. Political analysts said in the wake of the government's poor performance and a string of corruption scandals implicating President Chen Shui-bian, his family and government, the DPP had no choice but to resort to such strategies to distract voters. Political commentator Shen Fu-hsiung, a former DPP legislator, said some DPP supporters had been frustrated by the Chen government and were not willing to vote. He said the High Court's recent acquittal of KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou on graft charges had given the opposition a strong boost, allowing the KMT to take a strong lead in the polls. The DPP hopes to win more than 50 of the 113 legislative seats, but media reports, quoting DPP surveys, say that target is far too optimistic.