Wed, Sep 14, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Replacements brought in for posts vacated after riot

BY JIMMY CHUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Senior adviser to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and former vice premier Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) will serve as acting Kaohsiung mayor, while Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), secretary-general of the Executive Yuan, will serve as Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) chairman, the Cabinet spokesman said yesterday.

Yeh is to take the position left vacant by Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), while Lee will take Chen Chu's (陳菊) post, after Chen Chi-mai and Chen Chu tendered their resignations last week to take responsibility for the Aug. 21 riot in Kaohsiung by Thai laborers working for Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp.

"Our priority is to remain steady," said Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰). "As a result, there are no big turns for the new arrangements."

According to Cho, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) authorized both Chens' resignations Monday night.

Immediately following that, the premier met with the president to discuss potential candidates for the two vacancies, Cho said. After the meeting, Hsieh decided that Chen Chi-mai and Chen Chu will not be assigned to new posts at this point, and that Yeh and Lee will take over the vacant posts.

To be the acting mayor for Kaohsiung, Yeh said she will resign as senior presidential adviser before she takes oath for the new job.

Yeh vowed to continue the construction project as planned, so that residents will be even prouder of their city, saying that the MRT system must be completed as soon as possible and that preparations for the 2009 World Games in the port city will be carried out relentlessly.

Yeh, 56, is a legislator-turned-politician who has served as minister of transportation and communications, Council for Hakka Affairs chairman, and vice premier.

Saying that she is no stranger to major urban construction projects, Yeh vowed to work with the Kaohsiung City Government administrative team to serve the people.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed CLA chairman pledged to protect and uphold the rights of laborers, adding that he "will not let the DPP or the laborers down."

Lee, 52, is a medical professor-turned-politician who has previously served as a legislator and as vice representative to the US, as well as vice secretary-general of the DPP.

Meantime, Hsieh asked Cho to take on Lee's former responsibilities and simultaneously continue his job as cabinet spokesman. The premier also asked Cho to convene a "spokesperson's group" for the Cabinet, which Cho said was an idea first thought of by the premier approximately three months ago.

Cho said that the team will be comprised of between three and five people.

In addition to the spokesman, the "spokesperson's group" will also include Government Information Office Minister Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and National Youth Commission Chairwoman Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君).

Other young, dynamic and talented Cabinet members will also be invited to serve, Cho said, without divulging any names.

Speculation by local media indicated that Yeh's appointment might be the result of a DPP plan to nominate Hsieh and Yeh to run on one ticket in the 2008 presidential election, but Hsieh and Yeh yesterday denied the speculation when approached by reporters for comment.

"Please, it is meaningless for you [reporters] to continue your wild guesses," Hsieh said. "As time goes by, you will realize that all these speculations have been worthless."

Yeh said that whoever started such rumors must be a person who does not understand the DPP at all.

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