Deputy Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) said yesterday that the chiefs of districts in the newly designated special municipalities would not be elected for at least the next four years.
The Executive Yuan approved a plan last June to merge Taichung City and Taichung County, Tainan City and Tainan County, and Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County into special municipalities, as well as upgrade Taipei County into a special municipality. The new municipalities will be formed on Dec. 25 this year and their mayors will be elected along with the mayor of Taipei City.
In line with the restructuring, the 108 townships, villages and cities that exist in the affected counties and cities will be reorganized into districts.
Elections for the chiefs and representatives of these townships, villages and cities will be abolished, with future district chiefs to be appointed by mayors of the special municipalities, as is now the case in the two existing special municipalities of Taipei and Kaohsiung.
“An amendment to the Local Government Act (地方制度法) to that effect has already been approved by the Executive Yuan and submitted to the Legislative Yuan,” said Chien, whose ministry is in charge of the autonomous local governments.
Under the amendment, existing townships in the newly designated special municipalities would become districts headed by appointed chiefs.
To take advantage of the experience of elected township chiefs, however, the amendment would allow them to be appointed by elected mayors of the municipalities as district chiefs, the vice minister said.
The amendment would also oblige mayors to name the incumbent councilors of these townships as advisers to the district chief to give them roles in helping with the governing of the districts, Chien said.
“We respect the views of some people that there should be elected district chiefs and councilors, but we stand by the amendment crafted by the Executive Yuan,” Chien said.
Citing Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) telling the Ministry of the Interior last year that district chiefs should not be elected for the time being, Chien said the appointed chiefs of districts would serve for at least one four-year term until 2014.
The changes have triggered extensive concerns among incumbents.
Township chiefs and councilors of the four counties involved in the administrative realignment gathered at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Tuesday to appeal for help in amending the Local Government Act to allow one more round of elections this year to give them a chance to serve another four-year term.
The politicians, many of whom are members or allies of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), have threatened to mobilize against the party’s candidates in the year-end special municipalities elections if their appeal is ignored, but KMT legislators did not seem sympathetic to their appeal.
“Reforms always come at a price,” KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said.
Wu said he saw little chance for compromise given that Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) had rejected calls to amend the law. The legislator also expressed regret that the local governments did not communicate properly with local politicians before filing their applications for an upgrade.
Meanwhile, KMT legislative caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said he believed that comprehensive, not partisan, considerations should guide the reforms.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu