Although the 2014 elections for mayors of the five major municipalities and local county magistrates are still two years away, both the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are poised to gear up their preparations to vie for final victory in the elections, which are deemed a vital skirmish ahead of their next presidential race in 2016.
The KMT, for instance, has resumed a regular meeting with mayors of cities and magistrates of counties governed by the party, with the first meeting held yesterday in New Taipei City.
President Ma Ying-jeou presided over the meeting in his capacity as chairman of the ruling party, and Premier Sean Chen and key ministers of the Cabinet were all present at the meeting to hear administration reports by the KMT mayors and magistrates and to learn the latest responses from locals toward the government's policies.
The meeting was designed to reinforce the connections between the ruling central and local governments to effectively boost the administration's performance.
In order for such meetings not to become overly routine, the KMT has decided to allow more time for KMT mayors and magistrates to exchange views with President Ma and Premier Chen.
The KMT will move to set up administration-coordination platforms in all the local cities and counties, so that the ruling party can quickly learn the latest local conditions and help local governments solve problems to improve administration performance.
In cities and counties governed by the KMT, the platforms will be headed by KMT mayors and magistrates, and in six non-KMT cities and counties, the platforms will be led by central government officials.
For instance, the platform in the northeastern county of Yilan will be headed by Chen Shih-kuei, secretary-general of the Cabinet; those in the southern county of Yunlin will be convened by Vice Education Minister Lin Tsong-ming; Minister Chen Bao-ji will preside over the platform in the southern county of Chiayi, Minister Yiin Chii-ming of the Council for Economic Planning and Development will head the platform in Tainan City, Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford will lead the platform in Kaohsiung City, and Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan of the Presidential Office will handle the platform of Pingtung County.
On another front, the opposition DPP is also gearing up its preparations for the 2014 elections.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang, for instance, has arranged a series of visits to grassroots leaders in various counties and cities around the island, to solicit their support for DPP in the elections. Su will also make use of the opportunities to locate potential talents that can be fielded into the elections
DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng said that the DPP's think tank is mapping out various policies concerning economic and livelihood issues in the form of proposals that will be raised in the Legislature.
In addition, the DPP is also planning to launch its app programme for use by all the DPP members to reinforce interactions between the party and members and further consolidate their support for the DPP.