Thu, Feb 17, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Wu Rong-i floated as new candidate for vice premier

CABINET SHUFFLE Speculation about who would play second fiddle to Frank Hsieh intensified, as a number of reports said that the TIER chief was the probable choice

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) is expected to nominate Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) president Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) as vice premier as early as today, after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice chairman and former Council for Economic Planning and Development chairman Chiang Pin-kun (江丙坤) refused the offer, reports said yesterday.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times and United Daily News yesterday reported that Wu is going to be appointed by Hsieh as vice premier, but Wu declined to comment.

`NO IDEA'

Wu said that he had no idea regarding the matter, which he described as "an appointment made by the media."

He also declined to confirm whether he has been sounded out by Hsieh about such an appointment.

However, the Chinese-language China Times yesterday said that Taiwan's WTO representative, Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章), is also a front runner for the vice premiership.

Premier Hsieh said Tuesday that he already has a suitable candidate for the vice premiership who "is able to handle the overall economic situation, capable of dealing with international affairs and who is not a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party."

Wu is widely believed to be the person described by Hsieh.

Describing speculation as "impolite" and as making unnecessary trouble for those named, Hsieh said he will announce the appointment within the next few days.

However, he joked that the candidates named by the media are not bad and maybe he will start to think about them.

Hsieh extended an invitation to Chiang in January to serve as his deputy and later said he would not contact any other potential candidates ahead of the Feb. 17 deadline that he set for a response from the KMT on the appointment of Chiang. The KMT has set six preconditions which Hsieh said go beyond his authority to meet.

NEW POSTINGS

In related news, Hsieh yesterday approved the appointment of Department of Health Deputy Director-General Ho Sheng-mao (侯勝茂) to take the department's helm.

Ho will replace the department's acting director-general, Wang Hsiu-hung (王秀紅). In turn, Wang will become one of the department's deputy director-generals.

Meanwhile, Hsieh approved Tuesday the appointment of former Kaohsiung City Government Department of Mass Rapid Transit Systems director-general Chou Li-liang (周禮良) as the vice minister of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Chou will replace Tsai Tui (蔡堆), who will become the vice chairman of the Public Construction Commission.

Also see stories:

Taiwan's WTO representative Yen to retire soon

Pundits praise possibility of Wu being vice premier

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