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Merger and upgrade of Tainan City and County approved

Tainan's role in the development of Taiwan's history are sufficient to allow it an upgrade

Merger and upgrade of Tainan City and County approved

Tainan City and County will merge and be upgraded to a higher municipal status despite the original disagreements within the review panel last week, the Cabinet announced yesterday.
A 15-hour marathon session by a special review board last Tuesday unanimously approved an upgrade for Taipei County and mergers and upgrades for Taichung City and County and Kaohsiung City and County, but was divided on Tainan. A total of eight panelists approved of the Tainan merger, while six opposed it and the others failed to have a clear opinion, Interior Minister Liao Liou-yi said yesterday.
The panel turned down requests from the counties of Taoyuan and Changhua for separate upgrades and from the counties of Yunlin and Chiayi for a merger and upgrade.
At a special meeting yesterday however, the Cabinet decided to accept Tainan's arguments that its rich history and role in the development of Taiwan's history were sufficient to allow it an upgrade.
Relaying Premier Liu Chao-shiuan's words to reporters after the meeting, Cabinet spokesman Su Jun-pin listed the advantages of the Tainan area, including its population of 1.87 million, its past as the first capital of Taiwan, its numerous historic monuments and the presence of high-tech and creativity parks. The Tainan area was a center of manufacturing, education and research for the South, and could later play an even more important role in cooperating with neighboring Yunlin and Chiayi counties, Su said.
The Cabinet spokesman also hinted that Taoyuan County should eventually make the grade because as its population was rapidly approaching 2 million, but he did not provide a timetable for the change.
In addition to the four changes approved by the government, Taipei City already holds special administrative status, so at the end of next year, Taiwan will count five areas directly under the central government.
Tainan City Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair welcomed the government decision, saying the central administration had finally heard the voices of the local population. Supporters of the merger lighted firecrackers outside the city government building.
The June 23 one-day review of the requests from 11 counties and cities has come under fire from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which has accused the government of putting political motives first.
Elections for county magistrates and city mayors in the approved areas will be postponed from the end of this year to late next year, giving extra breathing space to some embattled incumbents, in particular Taipei County's Kuomintang magistrate Chou Hsi-wei.
The DPP accused the government of approving Taipei County's upgrade to relieve pressure on Chou, who according to many opinion polls is facing a tough fight for re-election in the face of a possible challenge by former Premier Su Tseng-chang.
Earlier expectations had seen a merger of the county with Taipei City and Keelung City.
Another KMT stalwart, Jason Hu, originally reached the end of his final second term as mayor of Taichung City this December, but the change in status will allow him to run again for the post of chief executive for the new expanded Taichung.


Updated : 2021-04-19 02:41 GMT+08:00