Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Han should explain leave to voters: Kolas

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka speaks at the Executive Yuan in Taipei in an undated photograph.

Photo: CNA

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) must explain to his city’s residents his decision to take three months off to campaign for president when he has only been in office for less than a year, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said yesterday.

Han is the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate.

Kolas made the remark at a news conference in Taipei in response to media queries on whether the Executive Yuan had received Han’s request to take a leave of absence.

The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics received the request on Tuesday, she said, adding that the mayor was to take a leave of absence from Wednesday to Jan. 10.

However, she said that the document delivered by the Kaohsiung City Government was not a request, but simply a notification, as it does not require the Executive Yuan’s approval.

Asked if there had been any mayor or commissioner who had taken a leave of absence of such length to run for higher office, Kolas said that no local government official had ever taken leave to campaign after less than a year in office.

Han would have to explain his decision to the Kaohsiung residents who voted for him in last year’s election, she said.

Asked about Han’s suggestion that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should also take time off to campaign — to make the election “fair” — Kolas said that she could not see the connection between the two issues.

The president has chosen to continue doing her job, attending to national affairs, she said.

Every candidate must answer to their voters, she added.

Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) on Tuesday said that the president would not ask for a long period of leave as issues of importance to the public require her attention.

There is also no legal procedure allowing for presidential leave and the KMT must be aware of that, Ting said.

When running for re-election, the president would strictly follow administrative procedures and cover her own campaign costs when required, he added.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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