Wed, Jan 05, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Chu announces first, Hau on defensive

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday defended the efficiency of his city government amid accusations that it failed to take the lead among the five special municipalities in announcing the official back-to-school day.

Saying Taipei would be a “bellwether” among the special municipalities during the swearing-in ceremony for his second term last month, Hau vowed to lead municipal development efforts. However, New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) beat him to the task when he announced on Monday that the new semester would start on Feb. 14.

The announcement came amid disputes over whether schools should delay the start of the new semester until the beginning of the week, as the initial day, Feb. 11, falls on a Friday. The Ministry of Education had been scheduled to hold a meeting with local governments today to reach a decision on the matter.

A few hours after Chu made the announcement, Taipei City Government spokesperson Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) said the city would also delay the official back-to-school day to Feb. 14, with a make-up day on Feb. 19.

Hau dismissed accusations that he had been slow to respond to the situation and had been less aggressive than Chu in promoting municipal policies.

“We need to communicate with schools and parent groups before deciding on which day to resume classes. It’s not about whether Taipei City can make the announcement first,” he said at Taipei City Hall.

While the position of Taipei mayor served as a springboard to the presidency for both President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Chu, 49, is considered a rising star in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and a likely presidential candidate to take over Ma’s leading role in the party.

Asked to comment on his beating Hau to the announcement, Chu said his administration was simply trying to handle municipal issues in a faster and more efficient manner.

Meanwhile, Hau continued to promote the city’s childbirth subsidy program, saying policies to create a friendly environment for youth had encouraged more people to move to the city.

Statistics provided by the city showed the number of people who registered their household in Taipei last year reached 120,189, while the number of people who left was 105,269.

The number of residents who registered their marriage last year reached 17,321, or 3,055 more than the previous year.

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