Taiwan president says Han's call for her to take leave 'absurd'

Tsai says Kaohsiung mayor's suggestion that she take leave from office for campaign 'absurd'

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Han (left), Tsai (right).

Han (left), Tsai (right). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has described a suggestion by itinerant Kaohsiung mayor and Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to follow his lead and take leave from office as "absurd."

On Tuesday (Oct. 15), Han announced that he would take a three-month leave from office starting Wednesday to focus on his presidential campaign. Han then called on Tsai to follow suit, reasoning that since her focus is on the election, "why not be generous and take leave?" reported CNA.

On Wednesday, Tsai told reporters that she believes it is a mistake for a newly elected mayor to take three months off to participate in another election after less than one year in office, reported Storm Media. She then added that "It's even more absurd to ask the president to take leave."

Tsai said that the president is the core of the operation of the country. She said that if a president took a three-month leave, the country would face a standstill, which is not advisable. She also stressed that the most important task of the president is to make the country stable and help it move forward, according to the report.

When asked to comment on Tsai's response, Han said it was just "a suggestion" and called on everyone to return to an original state of simplicity, reported CNA. According to Han, the two major political parties should "fight like gentlemen" and discuss policies instead of wasting the nation's resources.

Presidential Office spokesperson Ernesto Ting (丁允恭) said that although Tsai is running for re-election, there is no need to desert the national government, reported UDN. He added that the president has to deal with many matters every day and could not possibly take a long vacation.

"I'm very surprised that the Kuomintang is considering the mayor's leave as virtuous and even wants the president to do the same," said Ting. He emphasized that the KMT already knows that there is no system in place for the president to take such an extended leave.