Yilan village chief recalled over support for mining project

07/04/2020 09:48 PM
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Recalled Zhonghua Village chief Hsu Cheng-tung. / CNA photo July 4, 2020
Recalled Zhonghua Village chief Hsu Cheng-tung. / CNA photo July 4, 2020

Taipei, July 4 (CNA) A village chief in Yilan County was recalled Saturday, as the majority of residents voted against him because he had backed a mining project in the area.

According to the county's Election Commission, turnout at the polls was 67.75 percent, with 257 people voting to recall Zhonghua Village chief Hsu Cheng-tung (許正東), and 137 casting ballots against the motion.

If Hsu does not contest the vote, the commission will soon hold a by-election, which will be the second one scheduled this year in Taiwan to replace an elected official, following a June 6 recall vote against then Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) over broken election promises.

The central issue in the recall effort in Zhonghua Village is a proposal to launch a clay and silica rock mining project, which Hsu said he had supported only because experts had given the assurance that there was no risk of pollution.

In June, the Cabinet gave approval for an environmental impact assessment of the mining project.

Hsu, who was elected village chief in November 2018, said he respected the results of Saturday's election but was concerned about a possible domino effect, due to a 2016 amendment to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, which makes it easier for a recall vote to be carried out.

Under the amendment, the 50 percent voter turnout threshold was removed, and all that is now required is a vote in favor of the recall by at least a 25 percent of the area's electorate and a simple majority in the ballot count on polling day.

In the historic recall election in Kaohsiung on June 6, the turnout was 42.14 percent, with 97.4 percent voting in favor of ousting Han, making him the first mayor of a special municipality in Taiwan to be recalled.

Han left office on June 11, and a by-election for a new Kaohsiung mayor has been scheduled for Aug. 15.

(By Worthy Shen and Kay Liu) enditem/

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