The number of special municipalities in the nation is not a problem, but the lack of regional developments strategies is, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday in Taipei.
“The problem for Taiwan is not whether we have three or six special municipalities,” Tsai said on the sidelines of a diving school event.
“The problem is that when the [current] Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] government planned the new special municipalities not long after it was sworn in, political considerations outweighed having more integral design to balance regional development, bridge the difference between cities and rural areas and territorial planning,” she said.
Tsai’s comments came after Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Saturday night that there should only be three special municipalities — one in the north, the center and south, not six.
He said having six was a “messed-up decision” and that whoever came up with it was “detestable.”
Tsai said the DPP would review the issue if it is returned to power, adding that during the campaigns for the Nov. 29 nine-in-one elections last year, she and the party had proposed major cities should work with their surrounding counties and smaller cities nearby when drafting development plans, instead of altering the administrative boundaries or status of cities and counties.
Taipei became a special municipality in 1967 and Kaohsiung was upgraded in 1979.
More than a decade ago, Taipei County, Taichung and Tainan began pressing to upgrade their status, and in 2010 the Ministry of the Interior approved the upgrades.
On Dec. 25, 2010, Taipei County became New Taipei City, Taichung city and county were merged into one entity and Tainan city and county merged into another. In August 2012 Taoyuan proposed a merger with Taoyuan County to gain special municipality status and the change was made on Dec. 25 last year.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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