Kaohsiung, March 15 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang Chairman Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) reached an agreement Sunday to work together to develop the southern city, according to the city government.
In a closed door meeting, Han and Chiang discussed issues of public concern, including disease prevention measures, city affairs, policy-making and party reform, and reached an agreement to work together, the city government said in a statement.
During the meeting, Han said his political ideas align with Chiang's and expressed full support for the chairman's ideas for reform of the KMT, particularly in the areas of modernization and digitalization, according to the statement.
It said Han has confidence in Chiang's ability to lead the KMT in a direction that would allow the party to better respond to public opinion and meet public expectations. Under Chiang's leadership, the KMT will be revived and will regain the trust of its members and the public, Han said.
Han also said that epidemic prevention and good governance in Kaohsiung are his priorities at the moment and that the city will coordinate with the central government and other local administrations in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.
Over the past few years, Kaohsiung has been trailing the other five major municipalities in terms of infrastructure development, according to Han.
He asked that Chiang and the KMT legislative caucus coordinate with the central government to allocate more resources and subsidies to Kaohsiung.
On Chiang's part, he lauded Han's performance as mayor over the past year, saying the city government has made great strides, and promised full party support for the mayor's efforts to improve the lives of Kaohsiung citizens.
The KMT chairman also said he hopes the people of Kaohsiung and in the rest of the country will realize that Han is someone who listens to the opinion of the general public at the grassroots level and efficiently runs the city government.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of a recall petition against Han, which had gained about 500,000 signatures as of March, surpassing the required 228,000 for the first phase of a recall process in Kaohsiung.
The signatures have been submitted to the city's election commission for review, after which they will be sent to the Central Election Commission (CEC). If the CEC gives approval for the recall process to go forward, a recall vote will be held within 60 days.
The petition was initiated after Han entered the presidential race as the KMT candidate, less than six months into his mayoral term.
According to the petitioners, Han had neglected his duties as mayor as he became fully absorbed in his presidential campaign.
In Sunday's meeting, Chiang said Kaohsiung citizens should stop the political posturing and support Han's efforts to develop the city.
Chiang said a grassroots outreach is an integral part of the KMT's reform efforts, which will include assigning KMT at-large legislators to provide services in cities and counties with no elected KMT legislative representatives, pending approval by the KMT Organizational Development Committee.
In addition, the KMT headquarters will assemble a task force to liaison with the KMT legislative caucus, local governments, city and county councils, and think tanks to devise strategies, policies and solutions to issues at the local government level, he said.