Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday returned to work at the Kaohsiung City Government and apologized to the city’s residents for not attending to his mayoral duties during his presidential campaign.
“I am sorry for having been away from Kaohsiung for three full months. I am sorry that I have not been there with you,” Han told a news conference at the Kaohsiung City Government.
Han on Oct. 16 last year took a leave of absence to run as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate in the presidential election, which on Saturday culminated with him losing to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) by more than 2.6 million votes.
Photo: Chang Chung-i, Taipei Times
Although he had been on leave, the city government continued to carry out its duties, he said.
His priority would be to ensure that city residents experience a good Lunar New Year holiday, Han said, adding that he would keep the city safe and clean, and its consumer prices stable.
Asked about a post-election international news conference in Kaohsiung on Saturday, which he abruptly canceled at the last minute, Han said he canceled the conference because he had already given a speech on stage.
He had spoken his mind and urged his supporters to return home and calmly accept the election results in a concession speech earlier that day, he said.
“We hoped people would calm down, because they were very emotional... They were almost out of control,” Han added.
Asked about video footage showing him dining at a hotpot restaurant reportedly soon after the canceled news conference, Han said he had treated his campaign team to a meal, as none of them had had dinner.
Han declined to answer a question about younger KMT members’ call for a review of the party’s cross-strait policy, saying that it is irrelevant to the city government.
However, he said that there is a storm awaiting the nation.
“Members of the public must be united and the central government must lead the nation along a path with the most favorable conditions, while avoiding the opposite,” Han said.
Asked if he would consider running for party chairman if KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) steps down, Han said he has “absolutely no plans” to run for the post.
While a coalition of civic groups continue with a campaign to recall Han, he said that the campaign was launched just two months after he became mayor.
That such a campaign exists shows the value of freedom and democracy, Han said, adding that his team at the city government would continue to work hard.
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