Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Good appointments, good politics: analysts

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

As for Hsieh -- who is less than halfway through his second term as mayor of Kaohsiung -- Chen cannot yet appoint this political giant to any post. Chen Sung-shan says that Hsieh is regarded as the "possessor of the greatest intellect in the party."

Chen has therefore appointed DPP Legislator Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), an emerging star and one very close to Hsieh, as deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office, which should enable Hsieh to participate in national affairs through his close friend.

"Chen has allowed the four eligible presidential candidates to take up battle stations in order to give them every opportunity to compete, as well as to provide an equal balance of power, preventing any one of them from being dominant at the outset and turning Chen Shui-bian into a lame duck president too early on," Chen Song-shan said.

Regarding the 2006 Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections, Chen Shui-bian has clearly sought to cultivate Taipei City Legislator Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) and Kaohsiung City Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) as candidates, bringing both of them into the Cabinet not only to bolster the government's experience but also to provide the two with political experience.

"Luo-Wen-chia's appointment as Chairman of the Hakka Affairs Commission -- and Chen Chi-mai's as Cabinet spokesman and minister without portfolio -- will give each of them a lot of leadership experience, raise their profiles and enable them to promote and train their staff and aides in the best possible way," said political columnist Hu Wen-huei (胡文輝).

"They only need to do a good job and they will be the best possible DPP candidates for the 2006 Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections," Hu said

The reshuffling of the Presidential Office's staff also deserves attention. Chen has appointed his most trusted senior aide, Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), to return to the post of secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC) in order to strengthen that department's capacity for "special combat," especially in terms of foreign relations and policy integration, enabling Chen Shui-bian himself to focus more intensively on other priorities.

The president chose close aide Lin Chin-chang (林錦昌), who led the team responsible for the text of Chen's Thursday speech and who coordinates the president's schedule, as a senior adviser at the NSC. Lin will liaise between the president's closest aides and the NSC.

"As in the US White House, important presidential speeches and policy must be looked at by the NSC," said an important aide to the president.

"Lin should be able to steer the operations of the NSC in the direction of those of its US counterpart," the aide said.

taiwanese awareness

As far as "the political resources" of the Presidential Office are concerned, including posts as national policy advisers and senior adviser to the president, these posts were seen in the past as "serving as a reward for services rendered and as a way to win people over by any means, even in opposition to the party," but the personnel occupying the posts were not actually entrusted with providing advice to the president.

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