Kaohsiung mayor defends himself against recall vote

05/05/2020 04:34 PM
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Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu / CNA file photo
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu / CNA file photo

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) defended himself against a recall vote, scheduled to take place in early June.

In a written defense released by the Central Election Commission (CEC) Tuesday, Han listed 15 achievements since he took office in December 2018, including how his administration pushed for investment to increase new jobs for the city, saying that "he will brave the storms and move ahead."

In his 5,600 word defense, Han said that through the efforts of his administration to boost the tourism industry in the city, a business group from the United States submitted an application in January to team up with Kaohsiung to develop a "Love Ferris Wheel" project in the city.

During his mayoral campaign, Han had promoted the "Love Ferris Wheel," which is planned to be built by the city's Love River side, as a landmark and attraction for tourists to Kaohsiung.

Han said he has tried hard to invite potential business partners to invest in Kaohsiung and bolster economic development there.

Han also mentioned in his written defense a project to build a science park in the city's Ciao Tou, which he said is expected to create about 11,000 new jobs and generate as much as NT$180 billion (US$6.04 billion) in production value per year.

The science park project in Ciao Tou had also been proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rival Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) when he ran against Han in the 2018 mayoral race. In addition, the project had been included by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her political platform for the 2020 presidential election.

Citing the Buddhist Heart Sutra, Han said in his defense that no fears exist in his mind.

In April, the CEC verified the public endorsements of a recall petition to oust Han and scheduled the vote for June 6. Civic groups that have strong backing from pro-DPP politicians initiated the recall petition in June 2019, after Han announced his presidential bid, less than six months into his mayoral term.

These groups said Han's jump into presidential politics so soon after being voted mayor angered many Kaohsiung residents who thought he was not giving priority to running the city.

According to the CEC's plan, the commission will open 1,823 voting booths, but so far, it has not secured enough places, as many schools have been reluctant to give space, citing the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

But, CEC Chairman Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) told reporters Tuesday that the commission will borrow space from the private sector and build tents to set up voting booths necessary for the recall vote.

(By Wen Juei-hsiang, Ku Chuan and Frances Huang)

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