Sun, Apr 20, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Ma picks top Presidential Office aides

RUMORS GALORE With only four Cabinet posts confirmed, a top KMT official urged the president-elect to release a full lineup soon to stop rumors of internal conflict

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Denying rumors of a rift, Presidential Office secretary-general-designate Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) and deputy secretary-general-designate Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) yesterday vowed to stand by president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) when he takes over the reins of government on May 20.

Ma announced late on Friday night the appointment of Chan and Yeh after his top aide Steve Chan (詹啟賢), rumored to be a leading candidate for the post of secretary-general, declared that he would not join Ma’s administration on Thursday, sparking concerns over infighting in the Ma camp and the president-elect’s ability to handle personnel issues.

Yeh, a former Taipei deputy mayor, received Ma’s call on Thursday night soon after Steve Chan’s announcement, while Chan Chun-po, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice chairman and Ma’s campaign director, received Ma’s call yesterday morning.

Chan Chun-po, who met Yeh yesterday morning at KMT headquarters to discuss the transfer of power and their future responsibilities, denied rumors of internal conflict in the Ma camp.

“Some of the campaign team members do hold different views, but as a campaign director, I think I did a good job negotiating duties and coordinating their roles,” Chan Chun-po said.

Chan Chun-po, who also serves as convener of the power transfer team, said his priority now was to prepare for the power transfer and presidential inauguration next month.

A 67-year-old ethnic Taiwanese who had served as Ma’s campaign director since Ma first ran for Taipei mayor in 1998, Chan Chun-po is a familiar figure to KMT grassroots supporters and local cliques.

Yeh, 58, is a school friend of Ma from Taipei Jianguo High School and won recognition during the SARS outbreak in Taipei in 2003 with his expertise on health matters.

Yeh joined the KMT primary for the Taipei mayoral election in 2006, but later withdrew from the race after failing to receive Ma’s endorsement. He went on to teach public health at Tzu Chi University in Hualien.

Aside from Chan and Yeh, Ma has only two other confirmed Cabinet members — premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) and Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤).

KMT caucus acting secretary-general Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) yesterday urged Ma and Liu to release the full Cabinet lineup as soon as possible to stabilize the political situation and stop further speculation on the issue.

“The guessing game about the Cabinet lineup will not stop if they don’t announce the list. The caucus is hoping to meet with new Cabinet members as soon as possible,” he said.

Luo Chih-chiang (羅智強), spokesman for Ma, said yesterday that Liu would announce the Cabinet lineup tomorrow at the earliest.

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