Sun, Jan 17, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Township councilors unhappy with KMT proposal

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dissatisfied with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ latest version of a proposed amendment to the Local Government Act (地方制度法), an alliance of township councilors plans to protest the move tomorrow.

Liu Kuan-hsiung (劉冠雄), the organization’s secretary-general, said township councilors were “indignant” at the KMT’s latest proposal, which would drop the proposed NT$45,000 monthly salary for township councilors who would be appointed as advisers to district chiefs for four years after the newly designated municipalities are formed on Dec. 25 this year.

“What we care about is not the cancellation of the money, but the development of remote areas,” Liu said.

Liu said the group had called on the government to leave the election system unchanged for one more term for the 108 townships, villages and cities that fall within the affected counties and cities — namely Taipei County, Taichung City, Taichung County, Tainan County, Tainan City and Kaohsiung County.

With the formation of the new municipalities, elections for the chiefs and representatives of the townships, villages and cities that fall within their borders will be abolished. Future district chiefs will be appointed by the mayors of the special municipalities.

Perceived by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as an attempt to fortify the support of local factions, the KMT caucus initially proposed that township chiefs be reappointed as district directors under the special municipalities, and that township councilors be reappointed as advisers to district directors with a monthly salary of NT$45,000.

After the proposal drew stiff criticism, the KMT caucus on Friday offered a new proposal, dropping the salary.

“Members of our association felt that it was unacceptable that we were branded as ‘gangsters’ or ‘black gold’ representatives after the [KMT] proposed a salary of NT$45,000,” Liu said.

Liu yesterday urged lawmakers not to rush through the proposal at a provisional session that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), in his capacity as KMT chairman, had asked the KMT caucus to hold.

The legislature will hold an informal discussion tomorrow to determine whether to hold a provisional session and to iron out the technical details.

Meanwhile, Ma will spend the day tomorrow meeting 40 KMT legislators and will arrange meetings with others from Tuesday to Saturday to promote the amendment.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH

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