KMT on last legs as it braces for Han recall vote

World | REUTERS 2 Jun 2020

A recall vote for a high-profile mayor is stirring political acrimony in Taiwan and could bring new problems for the main opposition party, already reeling from losing the January elections.

After the Kuomintang lost the presidential and parliamentary polls, it has tried to rethink its unpopular policy of seeking closer ties with China under a youthful new leader, Johnny Chiang.

Now it faces further headaches if its defeated presidential candidate, Han Kuo-yu, loses a recall vote for mayor of Kaohsiung, a major port whose leadership post he unexpectedly won in 2018.

On Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets in a rally against Han, vowing to "reclaim Kaohsiung" and urging people to recall him in the coming Saturday's vote.

Han and the KMT have called on people to boycott the vote, which was approved after civic group WeCare Kaohsiung organized a petition.

Han says the government is conspiring with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to kick him out, alleging that they have scheduled more trains for people to vote, which the DPP-led government has denied.

Han's critics say he lacks interest in the city, pointing to his three-month absence when he ran for president.

Chang Po-yang, a recall vote organizer, said Han's defeat would present a "major setback" for the KMT's China policy.

"If we succeed, it means the Kuomintang's China policy no longer has any market," he said.

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