Fri, Nov 01, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Han’s absence sparks brawl in council

KAOHSIUNG BUDGET:Since the mayor had time to meet the AIT director earlier this month, he should be able to attend a budget review, DPP councilors said

By Wang Jung-hsiang, Huang Liang-chieh and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung City councilors try to remove their Democratic Progressive Party colleagues occupying the podium at the Kaohsiung City Council yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Fighting broke out yesterday at the Kaohsiung City Council as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilors refused to yield the podium for a review of next year’s fiscal budget, demanding that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) be present at the meeting.

DPP councilors had occupied the podium and refused to allow Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) to take his place at the meeting.

When Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) councilors tried to remove their DPP colleagues, the two sides engaged in a shouting and shoving match.

KMT Kaohsiung City Councilor Liu Te-lin (劉德林) sustained minor injuries during the tussle.

Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Lu Shu-mei (陸淑美), of the KMT, summoned the police to break up the brawl.

The DPP caucus said Yeh could not preside over the budget review, as he was deputizing for Han and not the acting mayor.

When former Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) resigned to take up the position of Presidential Office secretary-general, the central government appointed Hsu Li-ming (許立明) as acting mayor, it said.

That is due process and Hsu’s situation should not be considered the same as Yeh’s, it said.

The fiscal 2020 budget is the first budget proposal that Han is putting forth as city mayor and he should be present for the review, the caucus said.

Han, the KMT’s presidential candidate, has a “very relaxed campaign schedule” and multiple time slots open, it said, adding that earlier this month, he canceled his “time off” to meet with American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen.

The caucus said it saw no reason for Han not to do the same and attend the budget review.

Despite the confusion lasting nearly two hours, Lu at about 5pm announced that the budget proposal would be forwarded to committee review and dismissed the meeting.

Separately, Han yesterday traveled to several places in Taoyuan, visiting Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) mausoleum in Cihhu (慈湖) and joining a gathering of Aboriginal supporters in Jiaobanshan (角板山).

Han said that while traveling from Pingtung County to Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Chiayi, Yunlin and Changhua counties, as well as Taoyuan, and meeting grassroots voters, he found that many Taiwanese are living difficult lives.

It is important for politicians to remember to take up their responsibilities, he said.

All government officials should ensure that voters are taken care of and prosperous, and that the nation is safe, he added.

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