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KMT not to blame for recall defeat: Mayor of Taiwan's Kaohsiung

DPP still discussing choices to serve as interim mayor before new election

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Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (left), KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (center) at KMT Central Standing Committee June 10. 

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (left), KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (center) at KMT Central Standing Committee June 10.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) told Kuomintang (KMT) party leaders Wednesday (June 10) that his defeat in last week’s recall vote was not their fault but the result of Kaohsiung residents' dissatisfaction with him and his city government team.

While the threshold for last Saturday’s (June 6) vote stood at 25 percent of eligible voters in the southern city, a total of 42 percent cast their ballot, and about 97 percent of those approved of the recall. Han will have to leave office on June 12 and will be unable to run for mayor again for four years. The central government still has to decide on an interim mayor and a date for the new mayoral election.

The KMT moved its weekly Central Standing Committee meeting from Taipei to Kaohsiung Wednesday with Han as its main speaker. He said reports that the party leadership had failed to help him were not true, as they had frequently visited the city and given him valuable advice, CNA reported.

Han described his defeat as a judgment passed on his team by voters, not as a verdict on the KMT or its new leadership, which took over after Han lost the Jan. 11 presidential election by a wide margin.

At the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Central Standing Committee meeting, also on Wednesday, the nomination of the interim mayor for Kaohsiung was one of the main topics of conversation.

The choice has yet to be made, but public attention was focused on Han’s opponent in the 2018 mayoral election, Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), who has been serving as the country’s vice premier. Some DPP politicians reportedly will support him should he run in the new mayoral election expected to take place by Sept. 12, but they oppose him as a choice for interim mayor; the deputy ministers of the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Justice have been named by the media as likely choices for interim mayor.