Taichung City and Taichung County could be merged into one special municipality by Dec. 25, 2010 at the earliest, the Executive Yuan said yesterday.
The Cabinet approved a proposed amendment to the Local Government Act (地方制度法) during its weekly meeting yesterday morning, allowing cities and counties to merge into a special municipality.
At present, the act only allows a city or county to become a special municipality like Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said the proposed amendment was particularly meaningful in terms of the government’s effort to reorganize the nation’s land and promote more balanced regional development.
The premier urged the Ministry of the Interior to negotiate the proposed amendment with different party caucuses in the hope of pushing through the legislation by the end of this year.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) previously promised to complete the merger between Taichung City and Taichung County within his term of office.
Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) had protested against the president’s promise, saying that it would be unfair to Taipei County residents if the central government allowed Taichung City and Taichung County to become a special municipality ahead of Taipei County.
Chou even threatened not to stand for re-election on Oct. 31 next year over the matter.
If Taichung city and county were merged, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡自強), who is serving his second term, would be entitled to run for mayor of the new special municipality, the ministry said.
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