Tue, Nov 26, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Premier asks for time to fill positions

VACANCIES Yu Shyi-kun isn't ready to say who will serve as minister of finance and head of the council of agriculture, but he has named two interim leaders

By Ko Shu-Ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

As Premier Yu Shyi-kun officially approved the resignations of Minister of Finance Lee Yung-san (李庸三) and Council of Agriculture Chairman Fan Chen-tsung (范振宗) yesterday, Yu said that he needs time to find their successors.

In the meantime, Vice Minister of Finance Sam Wang (王得山) is serving as acting minister and Lee Jen-chyun (李健全), vice chairman of the Council of Agriculture, is serving as acting agriculture head.

The Cabinet is scheduled to hold an agricultural summit on Saturday to discuss agricultural financing and the consolidation of grassroots credit units, after which it may make an announcement on who will fill the vacant positions.

The Cabinet may also wait until after the Dec. 7 Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral and city council elections to make the announcement.

Yu, paying his respects to the late mother of the editor in chief of the Liberty Times at the municipal Taipei No. 1 Funeral Parlor (第一殯儀館) yesterday morning, told reporters that Saturday's agricultural summit will go ahead as planned despite the absence of the finance minister and agriculture chairman.

"I don't think their absence will pose any problem for the summit because the date has been set and the invitations have been sent out," he said. "Besides, their [Lee's and Fan's] deputies are supposed to take up their job when they're away."

Leading candidates to succeed Fan include Hsinchu County Commissioner Lin Kuang-hua (林光華), Vice Chairman of the Fair Trade Commission Chen Chi-yuan (陳紀元), Council of Agriculture Vice Chairman Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶) and Director of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Lee Chin-lung (李金龍).

Fan said yesterday that he had recommended Lin Kuang-hua to the premier as a potential successor.

Chen Chih-yuan dismissed media speculation that he is on the list of potential successors.

"It's impossible," he said. "Nobody has ever contacted me about the matter. Besides, what do you expect me to tell my immediate supervisor and colleagues if I take up the job?" he said.

Chen also took the opportunity to call on the media to cool down.

"As the premier said, he needs some time to think about it and find the most appropriate person. Until then, all this is mere media speculation," he said.

Chen was promoted to his current position on Aug. 5 from commission member, a position he had held since February last year.

Potential successors to Lee include Minister without Portfolio Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正), Taiwan Stock Exchange Chairman Sean Chen (陳沖), International Commercial Bank of China Chairman Lin Tzong-yeong (林宗勇) and Vice Minister of Finance Sam Wang (王得山).

While Hu refused to comment on personnel changes, Sean Chen dismissed speculation that the government has contacted him regarding the vacancy.

Sean Chen's visit to Lin Tzong-yeong yesterday morning prompted speculation about whether the two were discussing the Cabinet reshuffle.

Chen, however, said that their talk "had nothing to do with the new position."

Wang, who answered to the legislature's finance committee on behalf of Lee Yung-san, said that he knows nothing about potential candidates to replace Lee and that no one has approached him about taking over the position.

Also see story:

KMT lawmakers urge premier to get down to business

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