Thu, Oct 17, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Han urges president Tsai to take a leave of absence

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, speaks to reporters in Kaohsiung yesterday.

Photo: Hsu Li-chuan, Taipei Times

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, yesterday urged President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to take a leave of absence for her re-election campaign so that the two could compete on “equal footing.”

Han made the remarks during an interview with reporters in Pingtung County.

The mayor is on a nationwide trip to meet with voters and industry representatives after taking a leave of absence that started yesterday and is to last until the election on Jan. 11 next year.

“We advise President Tsai to take a leave of absence so that [the presidential election] could proceed in the purest manner,” he told reporters.

If both of them are on leave, no government resources would be borrowed for their election campaigns, he said.

This would focus the election on the candidates’ platforms and allow them to compete on “equal footing,” he added.

Tsai is already occupied with her election campaign every day, he said.

“Instead of devoting the majority of her energy to the election while working as president, why not just be honest and take a leave of absence?” Han said.

On Tuesday, Han said on a Television Broadcasts Satellite talk show that it would be “unfair” if Tsai uses government resources to help her re-election campaign.

Asked about his waning support in polls yesterday, Han said: “What people actually feel is more important than polls.”

His experience meeting with voters shows that most of them are very unhappy about the Tsai administration and want a change for the better, he said.

Earlier yesterday, Han launched his nationwide campaign with an address at the Bao-an Temple in Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), the southernmost point of the nation.

The nation’s southernmost Bao-an temple was chosen as the first stop of the trip to highlight his commitment to ordinary people, Han said.

“It shows that the approach of our team will be the approach of ordinary people,” Han said.

In response to Han’s suggestion that she take a leave of absence, Tsai said that “asking an incumbent president to take a leave of absence is ridiculous.”

It is also “wrong” for a newly elected mayor to run for a new position just months after taking office, she said.

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