Good appointments, good politics: analysts - Taipei Times
Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Good appointments, good politics: analysts

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Compared to the pan-blue alliance, which is engaged in an internal struggle over transferring power to a younger generation, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has performed extraordinarily well in putting talented people in appropriate positions for his second term, in accordance with his goal of developing prospective candidates for major electoral races over the next four years.

Having won a second term, Chen is displaying self-confidence and improving upon his formerly closed style of policy-making in order to incorporate power-sharing, factional balance and the cultivation of talent into his new administration.

With Chen's new Cabinet and a network of officials now established in the national security system and in the diplomatic corps, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is establishing a basis from which it could establish itself as the permanent ruling party, said senior DPP Legislator Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌).

Compared to four years ago, when Chen was confronted with a lack of governmental talent within the DPP and had to select a number of figures from outside his party, the new government is now a veritable cornucopia of talent in a wide range of fields -- including people recommended by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), senior Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) experts, bureaucrats and senior figures from the worlds of business and academia.

"When A-bian (阿扁) started out, he really had no standard by which to promote people and, as a result, his Cabinet didn't gel. People found it difficult to work together, causing an unstable personnel situation until the third year of his first term, when he was finally able to judge the mettle of his appointments," Hong said.

Hong says that following this year's presidential election, Chen has promoted people on the basis of experience, taking into account the esteem in which the appointees are held both within the party and outside it.

"Chen no longer needs to rely on outside forces. Those who were promoted before their time have reached maturity and, in his appointments this time around, Chen is looking confidently ahead toward four years -- perhaps even eight years -- of stable government," Hong said.

Another observer says that Chen has done a good job of developing future DPP presidential candidates. The DPP's "four stars" -- Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Premier Yu Shyi-kun, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Kaoshiung City Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) -- are all plausible choices as presidential candidates in 2008, and all have been advanced by Chen.

mutual trust

"Su's appointment as secretary-general of the Presidential Office brings him to the very center of power and policy-making, and this was done in order to develop his experience in running the country. If he is successful as secretary-general, he will be the next premier," said Chen Sung-shan (陳淞山), civil service commissioner and the man who served as director of Chen's legislative office when Chen was a legislator.

"In addition, A-bian has taken pains to relinquish some power and give it to Yu, enabling Yu, in the process of reshuffling the Cabinet, to allocate posts in such a way that the Cabinet will become his own base of support. At the same time, in the organization of national security, cross-strait affairs and diplomatic staff, Chen has accepted Lu's favorite candidates, allowing a team to emerge that has been forged by the exercise of mutual trust between the president and vice-president," Chen Sung-shan said.

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