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Kaohsiung mayor downplays calls for her resignation
Central News Agency
2014-08-09 10:27 PM
Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu on Saturday brushed off demands by the legislative caucus of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) that she step down to take responsibility for the loss of life in a series of deadly gas explosions in her city last week. "I thank them for the criticism," Chen said, adding that the priority now for everyone is to concentrate on the disaster relief efforts. Regarding the doubts raised about the speed of her response to the underground petrochemical line explosions on July 31, Chen said she will be happy to provide her phone records and a list of witnesses to prove her whereabouts that evening.

At least 30 people were killed and over 300 injured in the series of explosions that ripped through the city close to midnight on July 31. KMT legislator and party whip Alex Fai on Friday charged that the mayor had been lying up to Thursday morning, claiming that she was not aware of the existence of an underground pipeline that is believed to have caused the blasts when it started leaking propylene. For days after the explosions, Chen had been saying that the city government had no knowledge of the existence of the pipeline, but she later apologized for the inaccurate statement after it was revealed that the city's Mass Rapid Transit Bureau knew of the pipeline for two years. (By Cheng Chi-feng and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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