Tue, Apr 29, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Liu names major Cabinet posts

SURPRISE Ma defended the appointment of a former TSU legislator as MAC head, saying she would help find common ground with people who hadn’t voted for him

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) revealed most of the rest of his Cabinet lineup yesterday, with many pan-blues raising an eyebrow at his nomination of a pan-green camp member to head the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

At a press conference, Liu said former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) would be MAC chairwoman, adding that Lai “completely agrees with president-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) cross-strait platform.”

Ma played the dominant role in Lai’s nomination and that of the new defense minister, Liu said.

Liu lauded Lai’s achievements, saying she had performed well in cross-strait negotiation at the WTO in the past.

He said the status of the MAC in the incoming administration was “very clear,” meaning that “cross-strait policies will be handed down to the MAC for execution after the president finalizes the policies through the national security mechanism.”

Some “deep-blue” supporters shouted “Wrong choice of Cabinet personnel!” and demonstrated outside the press conference as Liu spoke.

They held up placards reading “Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] members do not welcome a pro-independence advocate to take over the MAC.”

Earlier yesterday, some KMT legislators also expressed reservations about Lai’s nomination.

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said the nomination showed the “revival of [former president] Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) approach.”

Chiu said the nomination could “sabotage the atmosphere for cross-strait reconciliation,” adding that Lai is not a skilled negotiator.

“This is very provocative to China, just like eating pork in front of a Muslim,” KMT Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) said.

KMT Central Standing Committee member Lien Sheng-wen (連勝文) said he wondered how Lai could map out cross-strait policies given her “lack of understanding of China.”

Ma defended his choice of Lai, saying she would help his administration find common ground with people who did not vote for him.

“Although we garnered about 7.65 million votes [in the election], there remains some 5 million people who did not vote for us,” Ma said at KMT headquarters later yesterday.

“They are also concerned about whether our cross-strait policies will influence the interests of the Taiwanese people,” he said.

“These concerns prompted vice-president-elect [Vincent] Siew (蕭萬長), premier-designate Liu and I to invite her [Lai] to be chairwoman of MAC,” he said, adding that Lee also supported Lai’s appointment.

Ma praised Lai’s expertise in international and cross-strait affairs, adding that she agrees with Ma and Siew’s stance of “no independence, no unification and no use of force” and the so-called “1992 consensus.”

Ma said he had anticipated the negative feedback before the nomination, adding that he would take the various opinions into consideration.

Other appointees announced yesterday include National Chi Nan University president Chang Chin-fu (張進福) and former education minister Ovid Tseng (曾志朗), both of whom will be ministers without portfolio.

Former deputy defense minister Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) will return as minister of national defense.

Former National Chengchi University president Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) will take over the Ministry of Education, while Lee Sush-der(李述德), director of the Taipei City Government secretariat, will head the Ministry of Finance.

Former deputy representative to Australia Vanessa Shih (史亞平) was nominated to be Cabinet spokeswoman and Government Information Office (GIO) minister, while former deputy finance minister Gordon Chen (陳樹) will head the Financial Supervisory Commission.

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