Han concedes defeat in recall election, blasts DPP’s ‘national team’ effort

Taipei,  Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) on Saturday conceded that he had lost in an election to recall him, which he said was brought about by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) mobilization of a “national team” to remove him from office.

After the polls closed at 4 p.m. and as the results were being released, Han of the opposition Kuomintang gave a short concession speech at 5:30 p.m., acknowledging that the number of ballots cast in the recall election had passed the 574,996 threshold — 25 percent of Kaohsiung’s eligible voters – and that the majority had voted to remove him.

He expressed thanks to his team, the 892,545 people who voted in 2018 to elect him mayor of Kaohsiung, and the 1.3 million voters who did not go to the polls on Saturday.

“Thank you for supporting our (local government) team and for recognizing that this election was unfair,” Han said.

He said the recall effort was instigated by the DPP, which had been mobilizing all the government’s resources to try to remove him from office since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was reelected in January.

“It is unfortunate that since the DPP returned for a second term, all of its efforts have been concentrated on a ‘national team’ to recall Han,” he said, referring to a description often used by the Tsai administration to characterize the government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Han also said he regretted that his policies, including bilingual education and youth entrepreneurship programs, will be halted, despite their popularity.

In a brief review of his own performance as mayor, Han said his local government administration had done well to keep the number of dengue fever cases and domestically transmitted COVID-19 infections in Kaohsiung at zero so far this year.

“The only path for Kaohsiung in the future is globalization,” he added, expressing best wishes to Kaohsiung citizens and the next mayor.

In the final count at 6:38 p.m., the vote was 939,090 (97.4 percent) in favor of Han’s recall and 25,051 (2.6 percent) against, with a 42.14 percent turnout, according to the tallies from the Kaohsiung City Election Commission.

The initiators of the recall effort accused Han of betraying the city’s residents by taking three months’ leave of absence to run for president less than a year after he was elected mayor.

They also argued that Han won the Kaohsiung election with the support of China-linked media and had lost the support of Kaohsiung residents, having failed to solve the city’s problems, and had made statements that damaged its image.

Only by seeking an early end to Han’s term could the city begin to rebound, the initiators said.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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