By Chi-hao James Lo, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (�_����) assumed office yesterday as the first Taipei mayor independent from any political party. Ko was sworn in at 9 a.m. yesterday morning, officially changing his title from doctor to mayor. The transfer ceremony in which former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (�q�s�y) presented Ko with the official Seal of Taipei Mayor was presided over by vice Premier Chang San-cheng (�i���F), who implored the general public to encourage the new mayor instead of criticizing him.
Chang also said he looks forward to seeing Ko establish various milestones with his new policies that aim to incorporate the voices of the general public. Chang also addressed Hau and applauded the efforts and accomplishments of the former mayor during the past eight years. The vice premier cited the various achievements of Hau’s leadership, namely, the success of the YouBike system, the expansion of the Taipei Metro and his efforts to realize EasyCard use island-wide. Ko’s primary municipal advisor and People First Party Chairman James Soong (������), Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (������) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Joseph Wu (�d�x��) were also in attendance, along with the new mayor’s family members. The mayor’s speech following the ceremony was notably shortened from the planned 15 minutes to just four minutes. The new mayor’s staff stated that the reduction was a result of Ko wanting to ��cut to the chase,�� and it was a display of the efficiency of the new Taipei City government. During his speech, Ko first thanked the general public of Taipei for their power of ��believing�� that enabled him to become the new mayor of Taipei.
With this chance given to him, the mayor said that he began working the same night that he was elected, creating various goals revolving around the concept of ��hundred days for reform, four years for progress and a half a century for a bright future.�� Ko went on to say that one of his biggest planned projects based on the concept is none other than the New Capital Lifestyle Circle (�_�_�����y�����ͬ���) of Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan and Yilan, which seeks to spur the entire nation on toward a stronger future. The mayor later affirmed his initial campaign platform, stating that he stands by his decisions to have an open and public government, with the first step being the effort to utilize I-Voting as a means to secure certain commissioners for his Taipei City cabinet. Ko Begins Demolition of Zhongxiao West Road Following his announcement of plans to demolish the problematic Zhongxiao West Road Bus Priority Lane on Wednesday, the new mayor announced at 2 p.m. yesterday that the project would begin at 10 p.m. that evening. Soon after assuming office, Ko immediately conducted various meetings and then told local media that the removal of the lane would begin at 11 p.m. yesterday evening.