Thu, Apr 29, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Yeh Chu-lan to become vice premier

GENDER EQUALITY The DPP says promoting the Council for Hakka Affairs chairwoman is part of its plan to give top Cabinet posts to women

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Council for Hakka Affairs Chair-woman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) will become the nation's first female vice premier once the Cabinet is reshuffled.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) also agreed to take up the position of Cabinet spokesman.

In other Cabinet appointments, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) and Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) will stay in their posts.

Meanwhile, Lin Chia-cheng (林嘉誠), chairman of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, will return to academia.

In other appointments, Minister without Portfolio Arthur Iap (葉國興) is being considered as a replacement for Cabinet Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳), who is looking at studying overseas.

DPP Legislator Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), who met with Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday to discuss a possible Cabinet position, may take up the No. 2 position at the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Mainland Affairs Council or the proposed Financial Supervisory Board.

Outgoing Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Yeh's appointment had a lot to do with the DPP's recruitment policy.

"We'd like to see that at least a quarter of high-ranking Cabinet officials [about nine] are women," Lin said. "Of course, it depends on the wishes of each individual."

On Monday, Changhua County Commissioner Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) rejected an invitation to head the education ministry, while DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) turned down an offer to head the National Youth Commission.

Yeh Chu-lan told reporters after her meeting with the premier yesterday that she would push herself to do a good job.

Yeh, a 55-year-old of Hakka decent, was appointed to head the Council for Hakka Affairs when the council was established in 2002. She served as a DPP lawmaker from 1990 to 2000. She was appointed minister of transportation and communications in 2000.

According to Lin Chia-lung, the premier extended the invitation to Yeh mid-month but Yeh did not accept the offer until April 18. The premier obtained her official consent yesterday.

The 40-year-old Chen Chi-mai, who has been a DPP lawmaker since 1995, told reporters yesterday afternoon that he felt both happy and worried about his new job.

"While I'm happy about a career change, I'm also worried about how to do a good job as a government spokesperson," he said. "A lawmaker, who enjoys the prerogative of speech immunity, doesn't have to worry too much about the accuracy of his criticism or charges. But a government spokesman does."

Describing himself as a greenhorn in the executive branch, Chen Chi-mai said he will strive to be pro-active and honest in his new job.

Although the NT$2 million annual budget of the spokesman's office was completely struck out by the legislature, Chen Chi-mai said he was more concerned about making a contribution to the country.

"Financially I've been counting on my wife, who is a medical doctor, over the years and I don't think she'd mind doing it a little bit longer," he joked.

Chen Chi-mai, a native of Kaohsiung, dismissed speculation that he would run for mayor of the city next year.

"It's not part of my career plan at the moment," he said. "My deepest concern is how to do a good job in my new position."

He also said Lin Chia-lung might head the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission to replace Lin Chia-cheng, who told the premier in person yesterday morning that he would like to resume teaching at Soochow University.

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