KAOHSIUNG (CNA) — The initiators of a petition to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) submitted approximately 400,000 signatures Monday to the city’s election commission pending review as part of a recall process launched last year that could potentially lead to a recall vote in June.
Chen Kuan-jung (陳冠榮), one of the lead petitioners, told reporters that they have collected more than 550,000 signatures so far and decided to submit 400,000 of them — more than the required 228,000 — to the commission for review.
Once the city’s election commission and the Central Election Commission (CEC) complete the review process and approve the recall proposal, a recall vote on Han could take place June 13 at the earliest, according to Chen.
Aaron Yin (尹立), founder of the pro-recall organization WeCare Kaohsiung, said a number of civic groups decided to jointly launch the recall signature drive in December 2019 because “Han has turned his back on Kaohsiung’s citizens.”
He was referring to the fact that the Kaohsiung mayor joined the presidential race representing the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) less than six months into his mayoral term, and they argue that he has not been paying attention to running the city because of that.
Han lost to incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) by more than 2 million votes or a 19-percent margin, in the Jan. 11 presidential election.
Upon receiving the signatures, Chen Pao-te (陳寶德) of the Kaohsiung City Election Commission told reporters that the commission will take a maximum of 40 days to review the signatures to check if they are valid, in accordance with relevant laws.
The results of the review process will have to be approved by the CEC, he added.
Asked to comment, Kaohsiung city spokesman Cheng Chao-hsin (鄭照新) said the city government will continue to manage the city and present concrete results to convince its citizens that the mayor is doing a good job.
According to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, the recall process consists of three steps.
The first step in the recall process is to raise a proposal containing the signatures of 1 percent of the constituency’s eligible voters.
In the case of Kaohsiung’s estimated 2.28 million eligible voters, this works out as 22,800 signatures, which the pro-recall groups had managed to collect and passed CEC review Jan. 17.
In the second phase, the recall initiators originally have 60 days to collect the signatures of 10 percent of the eligible voters in Kaohsiung, or around 228,000 people.
The previously collected signatures will not be considered valid in this step of the process, according to the act.
The recall initiators said they managed to collect more than 550,000 signatures in 40 days.
Once the CEC approves the collected signatures as having passed the required threshold in the second phase of the process, it is required to hold a recall election within 60 days under the act, in which at least 25 percent of voters — about 580,000 in Kaohsiung — would have to participate in order for the results to be valid.