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Taiwanese vice premier expected to resign to run for Kaohsiung mayor

Chen Chi-mai hinted in commencement speech he is likely to 'graduate' from his post within two days

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Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai.

Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) has hinted that he would resign to run for Kaohsiung mayor, a post left vacant after Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) was ousted last week by a recall vote.

“Maybe my graduation ceremony will be in a day or two,” said the vice premier on Tuesday (June 16). The statement was part of a commencement speech he delivered at his alma mater, Kaohsiung Senior High School, where he was warmly welcomed by the graduates.

After the vote to recall Han of the Kuomintang (KMT) party passed the threshold by a wide margin earlier this month, rumors that Chen would announce his intention to run in the upcoming by-election have been widely circulated. Chen was spotted interacting with Kaohsiung residents and supporters at events around the city over the weekend.

Chen ran for mayor in 2018 as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, but he was defeated by Han — then a rising star in the KMT. Han's victory surprised pundits, as the southern Taiwan port city is traditionally considered a DPP stronghold.

The by-election will be held on August 15. Chen will likely be facing opponents from the KMT and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) Taiwan People’s Party (TPP).

Asked by the media whether he would tender his resignation on Wednesday (June 17), Chen did not respond directly, replying instead that “If I make up my mind, I will move forward with courage and determination.”