Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday chose not to attend a televised presentation ahead of a recall vote against him, and instead visited vegetable farms devastated by torrential rain.
The recall vote is to be held on Saturday next week.
Asked yesterday morning during a visit to a farm in Kaohsiung’s Zihguan District (梓官) why he chose not to participate in the TV presentation, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Han said: “I am going to continue inspecting [agricultural losses].”
Photo: Hsu Lee-chuan, Taipei Times
The presentation was held at 9am by the Kaohsiung City Election Commission, and broadcast live on local television and the commission’s YouTube channel.
The commission is legally required to hold a recall briefing on public television for the lead petitioner of the recall and person being recalled, unless the parties involved agree not to hold such a briefing.
Han’s team said weeks earlier that the mayor would not take part in the briefing.
During yesterday’s TV presentation, Chen Kuan-jung (陳冠榮), the lead organizer of the recall vote, said that Han should have attended the presentation to explain to voters why he should not be recalled, and that his absence merely proved his “anti-democratic” way of approaching things.
Han has failed to deliver on his campaign promises of helping Kaohsiung people “get rich,” boosting jobs so that young people can return to Kaohsiung and resolving the city’s flooding problems, he said.
Chen urged people to vote to remove Han from office.
The Kaohsiung Information Bureau yesterday said that the local government would rather do practical things to help its citizens, such as tackling flooding, than engage in a war of words with Han’s opponents.
Civic groups initiated a recall petition in June last year, after Han announced that he would be running for president less than six months into his term as mayor.
The KMT has defended Han’s governance in Kaohsiung, saying that the number of tourists staying in the city’s hotels increased 17 percent annually last year, and the number of days with satisfactory air quality rose to 77.8 percent in the first three months of this year, from 56.7 percent last year.
In a written defense sent to the Central Election Commission this month, Han said that he has tried hard to invite businesses to invest in Kaohsiung, adding that a project to build a science park in the city’s Ciaotou District (橋頭) is expected to create about 11,000 new jobs and generate as much as NT$180 billion (US$5.99 billion) in production value every year.
For the recall motion to pass, at least 25 percent of Kaohsiung’s eligible voters — roughly 571,000 — must vote in favor of recalling Han, and the number of people voting for his removal must exceed the number voting against it by a simple majority.
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