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June 27, 2017

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KMT urges Mayor Lai to follow through on promise, step down

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kuomintang (KMT) said yesterday that the opposition often asks ruling party officials to step down for no apparent reason, and that Tainan Mayor William Lai's (賴清德) failure to keep his promise is indicative of his party's double standards.

Vouching for the innocence of two indicted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bigwigs, Lai once said, "I am willing to guarantee their innocence with my political career. If they did anything illegal, I can leave the political arena."

Tainan Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介), on the other hand, said that if the two were found not guilty, he would renounce his duties as a councilor.

Both were subsequently found guilty in a breach of trust case, but following an appeal, one, Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌), was acquitted of the charges, while the other, Wu Nai-ren (吳乃仁), was given a prison sentence.

Hsieh resigned on Thursday.

Hsieh resigned despite that the fact only Hung was given a not guilty verdict, KMT spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said.

On the other hand, Lai made a lot of noise in protecting one of his own, but now that Wu is getting ready to serve his sentence, the mayor has become mum, the spokesman said.

Integrity is a basic requirement of politicians, and if Lai can't even follow through on his own promises, how is he to lead Tainan City, Chen asked.

Lai said yesterday that Hsieh's resignation was a political ploy, and that he would not dance to Hsieh's tune.

Lai said that he will leave his fate to the citizens of his city in the elections at year-end.

The mayor went on to say that when he took part in the press conference in support of Wu and Hung, both of them had been given prison sentences.

Lai explained that he vouched for them by betting on his political career because he believed in their innocence and that there were "mistakes" in the court's verdict.

Lai maintained that since the High Court gave its approval for a retrial, there is no longer a question as to whether he should resign, adding that Hung was acquitted of his charges and that Wu's sentence was decreased to nine months.

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