06/08/2020, 15.56
TAIWAN
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After Kaohsiung mayor is recalled, ally commits suicide

Hsu Kun-yuan jumped from his 17th floor flat a couple of hours after Han Kuo-yu was recalled by a popular vote. There are doubts about any link between the two events. Han is the first Taiwanese mayor to lose his job before the end of his mandate. Experts blame his pro-Beijing stance.

 

Kaohsiung (AsiaNews) – Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Hsu Kun-yuan, a strong supporter of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, jumped to his death from his 17th floor flat on Saturday, a couple of hours after the city voted to recall the mayor.

Both Hsu and Han are members of the pro-Beijing Kuomintang (nationalist) party, now in opposition at the national level.

The police are investigating the incident but it is not yet clear whether the tragedy is linked to Han’s recall.

After Han lost the recall vote, on Saturday Hsu said he respected the decision by Kaohsiung voters but said it was "regrettable" that they had lost a mayor who was dedicated to the city's improvement.

Following Hsu's death, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called on all political parties to exercise restraint, and to work towards national reconciliation. Earlier, Han had accused Tsai of orchestrating a defamatory campaign to remove him from office.

Han is the first mayor in Taiwan’s history to lose his job before the end of his term. More than 939,000 voters (97.4 per cent) voted in favour of his recall. He was first elected in Kaoshiung in late 2018. Until then, the city had been a stronghold of Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party.

The recall began on the initiative of WeCare, a pro-independence group. Han is accused of not keeping his promise to develop and improve the city.

Many residents have not even forgiven him for the decision to take time off as mayor to challenge Tsai in the presidential election, which he lost in January.

According to various observers, Han’s fall is really due to the widespread grassroot opposition to the reunification of Taiwan with China, which the now former mayor of Kaohsiung supported.

Beijing considers Taiwan a rebel province, and has repeatedly threatened to take it by force.

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