A number of legislators across party lines yesterday expressed reservations about a proposal from a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker that the heads of municipality districts be elected rather than appointed.
District heads are appointed by city or county governments under current regulations.
KMT Legislator Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄) proposed the amendment to the Local Government Act (地方制度法) to promote district autonomy.
Shyu said on Saturday that he planned to push the bill so elections of district heads could be held along with mayoral elections for municipalities next year.
The proposal would also seek to establish district-level councils to ensure checks and balances, he said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said there was no need to complicate the existing administrative structure by holding district head elections.
Huang said special municipality governments might be forced to cover additional personnel expenditures if district heads become elected officials.
Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) lauded Shyu’s idea, but said that it would be too hasty to push the bill through in time for next year’s elections.
DPP Policy Research Committee director Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) questioned the motive behind the proposal, saying that the KMT might be trying to create openings for councilors who lose their jobs after planned mergers of several cities and counties, and upgrades are completed.
Ker said the immediate problem the central government needs to worry about is how to evenly allocate its funding to the special municipalities.
KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Hsiao Ching-tien (蕭景田) also voiced his objection to Shyu’s plan, saying that it would be unnecessary to make the district heads elected officials while city or county level counterparts remained appointees.