National Youth Commission Minister Chen Yi-chen (陳以真) was reportedly tapped to lead a soon-to-be-established branch office under the Executive Yuan in Chiayi City, arousing suspicion and prompting the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to accuse the government of using national resources for political rewards.
If the Executive Yuan is using government resources as political rewards or as a method of inserting people in advantageous positions, it is a waste of national resources, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said, adding that such methods would not gain public approval.
The criticism came in the wake of a report published in the Chinese-language China Times yesterday that quoted anonymous sources as saying that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) planned to have the 35-year-old TV news anchor-turned-politician represent the party in the 2014 mayoral election in Chiayi City, traditionally a pan-green stronghold.
In her first run for public office in Chiayi in the legislative elections on Jan. 14 this year, Chen lost to the DPP’s Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), a veteran politician, by a narrow margin of 70,477 votes to 86,828.
The Executive Yuan currently has three branches, one each in Greater Taichung, Greater Kaohsiung and Taitung County.
According to the China Times report, Chen Yi-chen would succeed Executive Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Steven Chen (陳士魁) to lead the Chiayi branch office after part of the government restructuring plan — under which the commission is to be folded into the Ministry of Education and the Council of Labor Affairs — takes effect at the end of this year.
Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday did not deny the possibility of such a move when asked for verification of the China Times report.
However, he declined further comment on the matter “until some time later.”
However, the premier confirmed that the new branch office is scheduled to start operations on Sunday, and Steven Chen is set to double as executive-general of the office in its initial stage of establishment.
The newspaper added that Chen Yi-chen’s husband, Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中), who has already regularly engaged in local activities on behalf of his wife to maintain ties with leaders of local communities, would be designated as deputy head of the branch office.
When asked for comment yesterday, Yang said it would be impossible for his wife and himself to serve as the head and deputy of the same agency.
Additional reporting by Lin Yi-chang
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer