Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) The Tainan City Council passed a motion to censure Mayor Lai Ching-te for his absence from a special session on Thursday as city officials said Lai did not show up at the city council due to procedural controversy.
More than the minimum of 19 city councilors required for a quorum in a special session attended the meeting Thursday morning, but neither Lai nor any city department directors showed up for the scheduled question-and-answer period.
With the presence of members from the Kuomintang (KMT) and independent councilors, the city council passed a motion of censure on Lai, who belongs to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), for not attending as an observer.
The mayor's absence was not entirely a surprise.
City council speaker Lee Chuan-chiao of the KMT has been accused of vote-buying, and Lai has said that he would not step into the city council before the judiciary gets to the bottom of those allegations.
In the 57-member council in the city of 1.88 million, 23 councilors are from the DPP, 16 from the KMT, 17 are independent and one is from the Taiwan Solidarity Union.
The quorum of the special session had decreased to one third of the council seats -- 19 -- from the earlier one half after two adjournments earlier this month.
Thursday's meeting also passed another motion to hand the issue to the Control Yuan and the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission of the Judicial Yuan.
Hsiao Po-jen, head of Tainan's Department of Legal Affairs, said he and his colleagues were perplexed by the city council's moves since the call for the special session had won neither a consensus of major party caucuses nor approval from the council's procedure committee -- rules that were set up by the previous city council.
Tainan city councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh, who is also head of the KMT's Tainan chapter, later in the day filed a lawsuit against Lai, accusing him of committing malfeasance in office, obstructing an officer in executing duties, and administrative statutes.