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Taiwan: Kuomintang Presidential Candidate Steps Down as Mayor to Focus on Campaign

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Rafia Tasleem
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Hou Yu-ih Takes a Leave of Absence

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Presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih from the Kuomintang (KMT) party has announced his decision to take a leave of absence from his current role as the mayor of New Taipei City. This decision has been made to allow Hou to focus more intently on his presidential campaign. He has accumulated a substantial amount of annual leave time that will cover his absence until the end of the year. During this period, Deputy Mayor Liu Ho-jan will take over his mayoral duties.

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Hou Yu-ih: Breaking the Norm

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Interestingly, Hou's decision to take a leave of absence comes much earlier in the election cycle compared to his predecessors, previous KMT presidential candidates and ex-mayors Eric Chu and Han Kuo-yu. This break from tradition has sparked speculation regarding the potential impact of his absence on his popularity among New Taipei voters.

Support from KMT Chairman

Despite this early departure, KMT chairman Eric Chu has expressed his support for Hou's decision. He praised it as a practical approach towards managing his campaign schedule. This would relieve Hou of the constant juggle between his mayoral responsibilities and his national campaign activities, allowing him to concentrate solely on his presidential bid.

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Criticism from the Democratic Progressive Party

Following Hou's leave announcement, the New Taipei City Council prepared for a regular meeting which was due to be chaired by Liu. However, Hou's decision to take leave was not without criticism. A group of 11 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) city counselors held a press conference accusing Hou of neglecting his mayoral duties. They criticized his decision, stating that it was a shirking of his responsibilities as mayor. The future impact of this criticism on Hou’s campaign remains to be seen.

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