The Taipei High Administrative Court yesterday rejected an appeal by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to block a recall vote against him.
It was the third time Han challenged the Central Election Commission’s plan to hold the vote on June 6. Han can still appeal yesterday’s decision.
The commission on Jan. 20 announced that a petition had garnered enough signatures to launch the recall process.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
On April 8, Han’s lawyers filed a challenge with the court seeking to suspend the commission’s right to proceed with the vote. The court on April 17 ruled against Han.
Han’s lawyers then filed an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court, which on May 7 also ruled against Han.
Han’s lawyers on Monday last week filed another challenge with the Taipei High Administrative Court seeking to prevent the commission from holding the vote, resulting in yesterday’s decision.
The court rejected Han’s argument that the recall vote would damage his reputation and infringe on his right as an elected official to conduct his duties, saying that such consequences would depend on the poll’s outcome.
The court also rejected Han’s argument that holding the vote would increase the burden on Kaohsiung City Government employees and delay the city government’s planned work programs, saying that neither is a provision under election law to suspend the poll.
Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Cheng Chao-hsin (鄭照新) said that Han and his team would consult with lawyers for legal advice.
Separately yesterday, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus held a news conference to accuse the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government of aiding efforts to recall Han.
The caucus cited Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp introducing discounted tickets for university students from Wednesday next week to June 9 and National Defense University announcing that it was delaying its entrance exam — originally scheduled for June 6 and 7 — due to the recall vote.
KMT caucus secretary-general Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) accused the Ministry of National Defense of placing politics over the rights of students.
DPP spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said it was regrettable that the KMT caucus held the news conference, as doing so was aimed at deterring Kaohsiung residents from exercising their rights.
In related news, Han has canceled a planned visit to Pratas Island (Dongsha Island, 東沙島).
Han was invited by KMT Legislator Chen Yu-chen (陳玉珍) to join members of the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee for an “inspection tour” on Thursday next week.
Chen said that the visit was part of the committee’s mandate to oversee the operations of the Ocean Affairs Council and the Coast Guard Administration, and was unrelated to politics.
However, some lawmakers and pundits said that it was an effort to burnish Han’s image, as Chen and KMT officials want to boost his reputation as a patriot and defender of the nation’s territory in the South China Sea as the mayor fights for political survival.
Additional reporting by CNA
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