New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) yesterday appeared to rule out a run for New Taipei City mayor, as people opposing same-sex marriage claim to have breached the petition threshold to force a recall vote on the New Taipei City legislator.
“I am about to face a recall election — how can I think about running for mayor,” Huang said, adding that he “had not thought” about a potential mayoral campaign for the seat occupied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫).
The race to govern the nation’s most populous locality has attracted interest from national political figures, with Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) rumored to be considering a campaign.
Huang said that while he respects the rights of people campaigning for his recall, it would not shake his support for marriage equality.
Proponents of the campaign say they are on the verge of forcing the first recall vote on a legislator since amendments to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).
Opponents of same-sex marriage are planning to hold a rally in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止) on Saturday, as the second stage deadline for their recall campaign approaches.
Greater Taipei Stability Power Alliance secretary-general Yu Hsin-yi (游信義) said that campaigners would congregate outside the Sijhih Railway Station in a final push to guarantee petition signatures cross the 25,119 threshold to force a recall vote.
Entitled “Taiwan’s Last Father’s Day?” the rally’s date corresponds with Taiwan’s Father’s Day on Aug. 8, as the nation moves toward legalizing same-sex marriage after the Council of Grand Justices in May ruled that prohibitions in the Civil Code are unconstitutional.
The campaign against Huang has become a key test of the ability of opponents of same-sex marriage to exact electoral pain on individual legislators.
Yu said the title was chosen because of fears that the passage of same-sex marriage legislation might lead to the “abolition of Father’s Day,” while alleging that Huang hid his support for marriage equality during last year’s legislative campaign.
“A minority should not be allowed to determine the institutions used by the majority,” he said. “We chose the timing for the event because we hope to draw everyone together and gather as many signatures as possible before we make our submission to the Central Election Commission.”
He said that campaigners have already exceeded the petition threshold by collecting more than 28,000 signatures, but they would continue collecting signatures until the Aug. 20 deadline to negate any risk of falling short if some signatures are thrown out by the commission.
Campaigners have benefited from the passage last year of amendments to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, which relaxed previous stringent recall thresholds that had ensured the defeat of every legislative recall campaign in the past 20 years.
A voter turnout of at least 50 percent for a final recall vote to be considered valid was lowered to 25 percent under the new rules.
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