Thu, Sep 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

No guarantees on Han taking time off: Kaohsiung

UNPRECEDENTED:The mayor’s rumored plans to take three months of unpaid leave to campaign would make him the first head of a special municipality to do so

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Kaohsiung City Government Information Bureau Director-General Anne Wang smiles as she answers reporters’ questions at a news conference in Kaohsiung yesterday.

Photo: Huang Chia-lin, Taipei Times

The Kaohsiung City Government yesterday said that it could not promise that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) would not take time off for his presidential campaign, despite the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate previously saying that he would stump only on the weekends.

Han has no plans to take time off for his campaign, Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Anne Wang (王淺秋) told a news conference.

Asked if the city government could promise that he would not take time off, Wang said: “Can you promise that you will never get a divorce? There is no guarantee for such things.”

If Han needs to take time off, he would inform the Kaohsiung City Council, she added.

Earlier yesterday, five Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Kaohsiung City councilors — Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成), Chien Huan-tsung (簡煥宗), Ho Chuan-feng (何權峰), Kao Min-lin (高閔琳) and Chiu Chun-hsien (邱俊憲) — accused Han of planning to take three months off, starting on Oct. 11, to prepare for the Jan. 11 election.

If Han takes time off for the election, he would be breaking the commitment he made in May to focus on city affairs on weekdays and prepare for the election on weekends, they said.

Moreover, Han would be the first mayor of a special municipality to take a three-month unpaid leave, as he has already used up his paid leave, Kang said.

For the 2016 presidential election, KMT candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫), who was then mayor of New Taipei City, took three months off to campaign, Kang said.

However, Chu had already been mayor for more than seven years, but when Han joined the KMT presidential primary in June, he had only been mayor for half a year, Kang said.

As mayor, Han should not prioritize his presidential campaign over municipal affairs, the councilors said, adding that they would propose moving up the dates for interpellation sessions if the mayor is to take time off in the next three months.

Han yesterday said that the city government has been working diligently.

“The DPP city councilors should look beyond party lines and join the KMT in bettering Kaohsiung, instead of expecting bad things to happen to the city,” he said.

Additional reporting by Ko Yu-hao

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