Tue, Dec 24, 2019 - Page 3 News List

2020 Elections: Han petition hits first milestone

‘INCOMPETENT’:The petition to recall the Kaohsiung mayor says that he launched a presidential bid less than six months into his term and did not pay attention to the city

Staff writer, with CNA

Wecare Kaohsiung founder Aaron Yin holds a sign that reads “Recall Han Kuo-yu” in Kaohsiung on Nov. 20.

Photo copied by Huang Chia-lin, Taipei Times

A petition to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) has passed the first signature threshold and would soon proceed to the second stage, Wecare Kaohsiung founder Aaron Yin (尹立) said.

Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, is competing in the Jan. 11 election against President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party and People’s First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

The organization would file a recall request with the Central Election Commission on Thursday, as it has collected more than 22,800 signatures required in the initial stage of the petition, Yin said.

In the second stage, about 228,000 signatures would be needed for the commission to hold a vote to recall Han, said Chang Po-yang (張博洋), a representative of the Taiwan Statebuilding Party, which is also one of the initiators of the petition.

The groups want to recall Han because they say that he launched a presidential bid less than six months into his mayoral term and has not been paying any attention to the Kaohsiung City Government, said Citizens Mowing Action, another petitioner.

Han made “bizarre” and “impractical” promises during his mayoral campaign, has been constantly tripped up by gaffes and missteps, and is an “incompetent” and “absentee” mayor, it said.

However, a requirement that specific forms be used in the second stage of signature collection as well as a requirement that they be submitted within 60 days after the approval of the initial stage pose a challenge, Chang said.

That means the petitioners need to have the commission verify at least 22,800 signatures that had been collected and then obtain another 228,000 in less than two months, Chang said.

Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), recalling an elected official is a three-stage process, in which petitioners must first submit a recall proposal bearing the signatures of at least 1 percent of the voters in an electoral district.

In the case of Han, that amounts to at least 22,800 of the city’s 2.28 million eligible voters for the first stage. The threshold rises to 10 percent of the electorate in the second stage.

The final stage is a recall vote, in which at least 25 percent of the electorate — about 570,000 people in this case — must participate for the results to be valid. An official would be recalled if a majority of the electorate votes in favor of a recall.

If the petition passes all the thresholds, a recall vote might be held in late May, Chang said.

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