Wed, Feb 16, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Hopes dim for DPP to put Chiang in Cabinet post

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The odds of recruiting Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun as the vice premier seemed slim as the meeting between the KMT and Cabinet scheduled for yesterday was postponed.

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said that he had other candidates in mind since no progress was made in pursuading Chiang to take up the position.

"Since the new legislature is slated to convene Friday next week, I'm afraid we cannot afford to wait any longer," he told reporters, after attending a ceremony recognizing Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as the new DPP chairman yesterday morning. "I'm afraid I'll have to announce the new vice premier after Thursday."

Cabinet Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) had originally planned to meet with KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) on Thursday to discuss the matter, but reportedly canceled the meeting.

Lee, however, said that both parties agreed to postpone it.

According to Lee, Lin told him on the telephone that it was impossible for Chiang to take up the position of vice premier unless the six subjects proposed by the KMT were settled. The issues are the nation's soveriegnty, three direct links, the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, changing the nation's name and the names of government agencies, investigating party assets and investigating the the March 19 shooting incident.

Hsieh said that originally he had some potential candidates for consideration, but then decided to bring in someone from one of the opposition parties to promote political harmony.

Cabinet Spokesman Chou Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said that he did not expect Hsieh to announce the new premier until the KMT officially says no to him.

He insinuated that Chiang may not be assuming the post of vice premier.

"We are indeed encountering a lot of difficulties trying to persuade him to accept the offer," he said.

"Although our efforts to cooperate with the KMT don't appear to be working out this time, at least we're still on good terms and we look forward to working with them next time."

He also said that it was not important whether Lee and Lin met or not, and that it was beyond Hsieh's legal duty to discuss the six topics proposed by the KMT.

Commenting on the Cabinet's about-face, KMT Spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said that he was "surprised and confused" and "felt sorry" about the result.

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