Despite Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) saying that he would boycott city council meetings until corruption cases involving Tainan Council Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are settled, more than half of Tainan city councilors say Lai should attend, according to a survey conducted by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper).
Lee is involved in bribery charges in both the city councilor and council speaker elections.
Lai, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), announced that he would not attend any of the municipality’s council meetings until the cases are settled.
A survey conducted by the Liberty Times over the weekend of 57 Tainan city councilors found that 15 KMT members, including Lee, said that Lai and other city officials should attend the regular meetings and answer questions on city governance.
While one KMT city councilor was not available to be polled, director of the KMT’s Tainan branch office Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介) said that all 16 KMT council members were in accord.
Among DPP city councilors, seven said that Lai should attend the council meetings, while another seven declined to respond or remained neutral.
Ten DPP councilors said they “supported Lai in his decision,” the poll showed.
Ten out of 16 independent Tainan city councilors said Lai should attend council meetings, while the remaining six did not specify a position on the matter, the survey showed.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union’s sole member on the city council had, as of press time last night, not responded to the poll’s questions.
According to DPP Tainan City Council caucus convener Lin chih-tsung (林志聰), meetings this session do not cover Regulations on Tainan City Autonomous Government nor budget reviews, so Lai’s absence would not affect city affairs.
DPP councilors Chen Yi-chen (陳怡珍) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) said they followed party guidelines and gave Lai their support, adding that the majority of the city’s residents seemed to back Lai for abstaining from the meetings over his anticorruption views.
Independent Tainan City Councilor Lin Yang-yi said that as Lee has already been indicted and the case is in the hands of the judiciary, Lai should return to the city council and accept the challenges of his position.
In response to the survey, Lai said he has no comment on the stance of city councilors.
He said his absence from the council was a desperate measure in a bid to turn the democratic crisis into a nation-changing moment.
Additional reporting by Tang Tsai-hsin
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