Sat, Jun 22, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Yao Chia-wen triumphs against the odds

DEFIANCE Much to the shock of the opposition, independence-advocate Yao Chia-wen secured just enough ballots to win approval as Examination Yuan president yesterday

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators from the DPP and the opposition push each other around as DPP lawmakers seek to lodge a protest with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, center, that the confirmation vote for for Examination Yuan president and vice president was unfair.


Defying all forecasts, a senior presidential adviser won confirmation as Examination Yuan head while his proposed deputy failed to win approval by a wide margin.

Earlier in the day, the legislature also confirmed all 19 nominees for ranking posts in the body, the branch of government responsible for the civil service system.

The outcome, while cheering the DPP, creates a constitutional dilemma for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who needs to field another candidate for the body's vice presidency.

Meanwhile, the confirmation frustrated the opposition alliance.

KMT Legislative Whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) broke into tears upon learning of the vote counts.

Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), a former DPP chairman and lawmaker, secured just enough ballots for his nomination as Examination Yuan president after getting the minimum 113 votes needed for confirmation. One legislator voted against him and the other 111 abstained

"I'm glad I did not fail the appointment after all," a beaming Yao said. "As I have said, a few swing votes would decide my fate."

Yao, 64, owed his narrow victory to last-minute defections by a handful of KMT legislators. Earlier, the KMT and PFP had vowed to thwart his appointment, saying his past involvement in DPP and pro-independence activities made him unqualified for the job.

The Constitution stipulates that members of the Examination Yuan should be above partisanship and independently exercise their functions in accordance with law. Yao has said he would quit the DPP and refrain from pro-independence events if he won confirmation.

True to their threats, the opposition parties barred their lawmakers from attending the afternoon vote in an indirect show of disapproval.

Yao Chia-wen

Age: 64


Master of Law from National Taiwan University, 1968

Bachelor of Law from National Taiwan University, 1966

Work experience:

Senior adviser to the president, 2000-the present.

Legislator, 1992-1995

DPP chairman, 1987-1988

As on Thursday, senior mem-bers from the KMT blocked all entrances to the legislative chamber and engaged in sporadic brawls with their DPP colleagues.

KMT Legislator Tseng-Tsai Mei-tso (曾蔡美佐) arrived in the legislature at 5:20pm and was immediately surrounded by fellow lawmakers who sought to prevent her from entering the voting venue.

The blockade drew vehement protests from DPP legislators, including Chou Ching-yu (周清玉), Yao's wife.

"You have no right to deprive her the right to vote," Chou said, struggling to help Tseng break through. "No party can engage in such conduct and call itself democratic."

Tseng later made her way to the chamber but shied away from the balloting boxes. Amid the commotion, four other KMT lawmakers -- Lu Shin-ming (呂新民), Lin Nan-sheng (林南生) Yang Wen-hsin (楊文欣) and Lin Chin-chun (林進春) -- defied the no-show order and cast their ballots.

They were believed to have provided the votes needed for Yao's triumph. The DPP and the TSU control only 102 votes in the 225-seat legislature, insufficient to pass the majority requirement despite the help of seven independent lawmakers.

KMT Aboriginal lawmakers, who attended Thursday's vote, did not show up yesterday afternoon. Caucus officials said they went hunting in the mountains together.

To the surprise of many, former interior minister Chang Po-ya (張博雅) obtained only 102 ballots, 11 short of the number needed to be confirmed as Examination Yuan vice president.

Chang, 60, now a national policy adviser, insisted that many opposition lawmakers backed her nomination but abstained from the vote at the behest of their caucuses.

"Had they participated, the result would be different," she said.

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