Taichung County and City may see themselves upgraded to a single municipality under direct control of the central government in the wake of the Executive Yuan approving the draft bill of an administrative zoning law (行政區劃法) yesterday, pending final approval by the legislature.
Addressing a press conference after the weekly closed-door Cabinet meeting, Minister without Portfolio Yeh Jiunn-rong (
"To successfully upgrade the administrative status of a local government, the potential constituency has to go through three stages: proposition, review of the proposition and final decision," he said.
Instead of letting the central government dictate the adjustment of administrative zoning, Yeh said the draft would empower local governments to take the initiative to file such a request, pending the final approval of the Cabinet or ratification by the legislature.
Local governments would also be empowered to dominate the adjustment of administrative zoning of the cities, townships and villages under their jurisdiction.
A committee of between 11 and 25 members would be set up under the law to review upgrade proposals.
While the Executive Yuan would have the final say, Yeh said that the final decision would need ratification by the legislature if the population of the applicant exceeds 12 million, land area exceeds 18,000km2 or the number of counties and cities involved exceeds 13.
Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (
"Although President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen made three promises to Taichung residents in the run-up to the presidential election in 2000.
These were to upgrade Taichung City to a municipality under direct control of the central government, open an international airport and build a science-based industrial park in the region.
To be eligible for this upgrading, Taichung City, with a population of about 1 million, has to have 1.25 million residents according to the Law on Local Government Systems (地方制度法).
The city has reached a consensus with Taichung County, which has a population of 1.5 million, to integrate into a single constituency to become eligible for an upgrade.
Commenting on the Cabinet's approval of the draft yesterday, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (
"Taichung City and county are like egg white and egg yolk and it's only to our advantage to integrate into one entity because it would not only enable us to upgrade to a municipality but also helps boost prosperity in central Taiwan," Hu said.
Taichung County Commissioner Huang Chung-sheng (黃仲生) said that the county is more than happy to integrate with Taichung City but hopes the county's wishes would be taken into consideration while the Cabinet reviews the application.
"I'd like to see all of the county's 21 townships, towns and cities included in the new constituency," Huang said.