Taipei, Dec. 23 (CNA) A petition to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who is the Kuomintang's 2020 presidential candidate, has passed the threshold for the number of signatures in the first phase and will soon proceed to the second stage, one of the leaders of the recall movement said Monday.
The petitioners will officially file their recall request with the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Thursday, having collected more than the required 22,800 signatures in the first phase of the petition, said Aaron Yin (尹立), founder of the grassroots movement Wecare Kaohsiung.
In the second stage of the petition, an estimated 228,000 signatures would have to be obtained before the CEC could hold a vote on recalling the Kaohsiung mayor, according to Chang Po-yang (張博洋), a representative of the pro-independence Taiwan Radical Wings party, a group that is also one of the initiators of the petition.
The groups are seeking to recall Han because he launched his presidential bid less than six months into his mayoral term and has not been paying any attention to running the Kaohsiung local government, according to Citizens Mowing Action, another petitioner.
It said Han made bizarre and impractical promises during his campaign, has been constantly tripped up by gaffes and missteps, and is an incompetent absentee mayor.
The challenges in the next stage of the recall petition, however, lie in the requirements that specific CEC forms must be used in the signature drive and submitted within 60 days after the first-phase petition has been approved by the commission, according to Chang.
That would mean first obtaining the CEC verification of at least 22,800 signatures already collected and then soliciting another 228,000 in less than two months, Chang said.
Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, recalling an elected official is a three-step process, in which petitioners must first submit a recall proposal bearing the signatures of at least 1 percent of the voters in the electoral district.
In the case of the Kaohsiung mayor, that amounts to at least 22,800 of the city's 2.28 million eligible voters, in the first phase.
In the second phase, the threshold is 10 percent of the electorate, which would mean 228,000 signatures in Kaohsiung.
The final phase of the process is a recall election held by the CEC, in which at least 25 percent of voters -- about 570,000 in Kaohsiung-- would have to participate in order for the results to be valid. A recall will require a majority vote in its favor.
According to Chang, if the petition meets all the thresholds, a recall election in Kaohsiung may be held in late May 2020.
Meanwhile, Han will be competing in the Jan. 11, 2020 presidential election against President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party and James Soong (宋楚瑜) of the People's First Party.
On Saturday, Wecare Kaohsiung staged a protest in the city against Han's presidential candidacy, at the same time Han was holding a campaign rally.
The protest attracted 500,000 people, the organizers said, while Han's campaign said 350,000 people attended his rally.