Mon, Mar 08, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Chen considering female premier


Vice President Annette Lu, second left, listens as Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams speaks at a rally for women supporting the presidential ticket of Chen Shui-bian and Lu at Taipei Main Station yesterday, the eve of International Women's Day.


Premier Yu Shyi-kun has said he planned to resign after the March 20 presidential election to spend more time with his family, local newspapers said yesterday.

"After President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election, I will suggest that he find another candidate for premier so that I can retire earlier and spend more time with family," the reports quoted Yu as telling a seminar on women's rights.

Yu, 55, had offered to resign last year after 100,000 farmers demonstrated in Taipei against government plans to reform agricultural credit cooperatives, but Chen asked him to stay.

The former rice farmer is Chen's third head of government in four years, but is seen as lacking political savvy and has come under pressure to take responsibility for a flagging economy during Chen's tenure.

Chen's first premier, Tang Fei (唐飛), quit after four months in office amid disagreements over government plans to cease construction of a controversial nuclear power plant. Yu's predecessor, Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), was dropped in a 2002 reshuffle.

At a campaign rally last night at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to mark International Women's Day, which falls today, Chen disclosed for the first time that he would be looking for a female premier if he is re-elected.

"One day Taiwan will have a female president and I also believe that we will have a female premier in the future. People may not notice this issue, but I have already started considering the appropriate candidates for a female premier," Chen said.

He didn't specify any possible candidates.

Chen promised to allow more women to take up ministerial posts in the Cabinet if he is elected. The Democratic Progressive Party's campaign platform includes increasing the number of women in government to 40 percent.

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