According to leaked meeting minutes obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times), city officials asked every civil servant present if they had received any recall petition documents and instructed them not to take part.
We Care Kaohsiung has called Han — who is to represent the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in next year’s presidential election — a “runaway mayor” ready to abandon Kaohsiung to become president.
The city government said that Han respects residents’ right to recall politicians, but as the mayor has previously said, such petitions must adhere to the law.
The meeting was held to remind staff to remain politically neutral at work after receiving a report that certain staffers were distributing recall petitions and making political comments online during work hours, it said.
The Public Servants’ Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法) stipulates that civil servants may not participate in political activities while at work, it said.
In 1994, nearly 378,000 residents of then-Taipei County voted to recall Han, who was representing the county as a legislator, it said.
Knowing that residents would not be able to reach the unreasonably high recall threshold at the time, Han did not even offer a defense against the recall in the election notice, it said.
If a campaign to recall Han could garner nearly 400,000 votes back then, getting 500,000 votes this time is possible, it said, adding that Han is now much more well-known and disliked.