Mayor Han tours devastated farms amid recall vote in Kaohsiung

Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜, in blue vest) (Photo courtesy of CNA)

KAOHSIUNG (CNA) — Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) began his day touring a papaya farm in the city’s Qishan District that had been devastated by the recent torrential rain, all the while a recall vote against him is taking place on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Han said he respected the decision by the people of Kaohsiung to hold a recall, saying whatever the outcome, he will accept the election results.

The mayor assumed office in December 2018 after winning 53.8 percent of the votes in the mayoral race, marking the first time in two decades that his party, the Kuomintang, won Kaohsiung City, which is considered a stronghold of the ruling and pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

A recall campaign was launched with backing from the DPP after Han declared his candidacy in the 2019 presidential race, just six months after serving as mayor.

(Photo courtesy of CNA)

Han had indicated he was running for the good of his party and Taiwan, but some groups in Kaohsiung launched the recall campaign, accusing him of abandoning his duties as mayor.

Han told reporters on Saturday that he is also scheduled to visit several other vegetable and fruit farms that had been devastated by the torrential rainfall that drenched southern Taiwan in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the lead petitioner of the recall effort, Chen Kuan-jung (陳冠榮), told the media after casting his vote on Saturday that regardless of the results, at the end of the day, the people of Kaohsiung are the biggest winners. Aaron Yin (尹立), who founded the pro-recall organization WeCare Kaohsiung shortly after Han took office as mayor, said whatever the results turn out to be, the decision by the people of Kaohsiung must be respected.

The lead petitioner of the recall effort, Chen Kuan-jung. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

According to the Kaohsiung City Election Commission, the city with a population of roughly 2.7 million has a total of 2,299,981 eligible voters.

For the recall motion to pass, at least 25 percent of the eligible voters — 574,996 — must vote in favor of a recall and the number of people voting for the measure must exceed the number that vote against it.

The results of the recall vote are expected to begin coming in when the 1,823 polling stations across the southern Taiwanese city close at 4 p.m.