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DPP council member in North Taiwan city loses recall vote

Campaign against Wang Hao-yu stems from 2020 recall of Kaohsiung mayor

Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu 

Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A campaign to oust a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member of the Taoyuan City Council scored a victory Saturday (Jan. 16) with 84,582 voters approving the recall and 7,128 casting a no ballot, according to TV reports.

Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇) had been targeted in a move widely seen as revenge for Kaohsiung City Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) recall defeat last June. On Aug. 15, voters in the southern town voted overwhelmingly to replace the recalled Kuomintang (KMT) mayor with DPP candidate Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁).

KMT supporters struck back by launching recall petitions against outspoken critics of Han, including Wang and Huang Chieh (黃捷), an independent member of the Kaohsiung City Council who will face voters on Feb. 6. Wang was targeted for his comments about a Kaohsiung KMT politician who committed suicide.

In Saturday’s vote in the Taoyuan City district of Zhongli, the move to recall Wang needed at least 81,940 votes, or 25 percent of the 327,758 eligible voters, to cast a ballot, with more votes in favor of the recall motion than against, CNA reported.

When counting began after 4 p.m., even leaders of the recall movement expressed doubts whether they would make it, but about two hours later, cable TV stations reported the number of yes votes had crossed the threshold. The voter turnout stood at 28.14 percent, or 3 percent more than the necessary minimum, according to CNA.

The Central Election Commission said Wang will have to leave his post on Jan. 22, but he will not be replaced, as more than half of his election district’s city councilors are still in place. While the next local elections for city councils are expected at the end of 2022, Wang will not be allowed to run for the same seat again for four years.