Mon, Jun 07, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Promotion for one of their own splits pan-blue camp

LOYALTY The PFP, which denies the legitimacy of the Chen administration, was put in a tough spot when Soong-supporter Wu Rong-ming was voted on for vice president of the Examination Yuan

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORER

The appointment of Wu Rong-ming (吳容明) as vice president of the Examination Yuan has driven a wedge into the pan-blue camp.

The People First Party (PFP) legislative caucus originally wanted Wu, who has longtime ties to the pan-blue camp, to decline the post because of the party's contention that President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration was not legitimate.

To protest against the Chen administration, the PFP caucus at one time planned to have its caucus leaders abstain from voting on the confirmation, but after PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) hinted that he did not oppose Wu's appointment, PFP members were allowed to vote based on their free will.

Of 217 legislators, 175 supported the appointment, while 25 did not vote and 11 voted against the appointment. There were six invalid votes.

Wu, 61, a former member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), was appointed civil service minister under the Examination Yuan in 2000. He has also served as the board chairman of the NT$200 billion public-service pension fund since 2000.

In the run-up to the 2000 presidential election, Wu quit his job as a minister without portfolio to help with Soong's presidential campaign. Wu has developed a close relationship with Soong, who served as Taiwan provincial governor from 1993 to 1998.

Wu was the vice provincial governor from 1994 to 1998 and was Examination Yuan secretary-general in 1993 and 1994.

Chen Lung-chi (陳龍吉), a former secretary-general of the Taiwan Provincial Government who has been friends of Wu's for over 20 years, said that he was particularly impressed with Wu's sincerity and work ethic when they were colleagues at the Taipei City Government.

"He was a responsible, steady, sincere and honest individual and public servant," Chen said.

Chen Lung-chi was secretary-general of the Taipei City Government's Department of Environmental Protection from 1984 to 1986 when Wu was the secretary-general of the city's Department of Land Affairs.

Asked if he had any advice for his old friend, Chen Lung-chi, who resigned on May 1 this year, said it would be wise to stay away from politics.

"The political climate has dramatically changed. I know exactly how he feels about being in hot water because I was in a similar situation before," he said.

Chen announced his decision to step down from the chairmanship of the Provincial Election Commission one month before the presidential election due to "concerns about not being able to accomplish the challenging tasks regarding ballot procedures and other voting affairs related to the referendum" on election day.

Chen was the highest-ranking government official in charge of election affairs to resign since the Cabinet began the process to hold the referendum one month before the election.

His resignation came after days of wrangling over his proposal to separate referendum polling stations from those used for the presidential election.

Chen Lung-chi made the proposal to the Central Election Commission (CEC) for separate stations as a means to avoid confusion based on the notion that different laws apply to the two events.

However, he said that his proposal was ignored and that he was bullied and intimidated by people opposed to his proposal, adding that some visited his office to call him names.

The administration had wanted the presidential ballots and the ballots for the two referendum questions to be cast at the same polling stations, and said that votes placed in the wrong ballot boxes would be counted.

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