President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) mentor -- constitutional expert Lee Hung-hsi (李鴻禧) -- may be selected to succeed Frederick Chien (錢復) as the next president of the Control Yuan, a source in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
"Lee is an expert in jurisprudence and is highly respected by all party members," the source said.
Chen, who also serves as the DPP chairman, announced on Sunday during the DPP's National Congress meeting that he would nominate a non-party candidate to be the next head of the Control Yuan to ensure the impartiality of the government watchdog.
Sources told the Taipei Times yesterday that the president was trying to demonstrate his determination to draw a line between the Control Yuan and the political party, yet to have someone in the key position willing to carry out reform.
"We can not give the job to someone who is friendly to [the DPP] as a political reward," the sources said.
There are two major missions for the next head of the Control Yuan, the source said: First, the president's priority is constitutional reform, as he promised many times that a new constitution will be formulated before he steps down from his post in 2008. Therefore, Frederick Chien's successor must support Chen's plan.
"Whether to abolish the Control Yuan and adjust the government system from the current five branches to three branches will become the main issue during the constitutional re-engineering process," the source said.
"Since the majority of people seem to be in favor of abolishing the Control Yuan, the president has to nominate a candidate who is willing to follow the final resolution, even if the new constitution abolishes the government watchdog," he said.
The source also said that the president is expecting to produce concrete reforms, especially in the matter of exposing and redressing past atrocities committed during the Martial Law era to bring justice to victims.
"Lee is fully aware of the president's thoughts and determination in seeking the truth about those historical atrocities, including the political murders and military corruption under the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government," the source said.
Lee yesterday refused to comment on whether he is willing to serve as Control Yuan president.
Political analysts said that Chen's decision could win the public's support, and thereby effectively allow the candidate to get the approval of the Legislative Yuan.
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"The president's announcement is meant to tell the public that the country will finally have a non-KMT candidate leading the top government watchdog," Hu said.
"And Chen can also nominate a candidate for the vice presidency of the Control Yuan from among independent legislators, in order to gain the support of the independent caucus, or even choose a KMT member in an attempt to split the pan-blue alliance," Hu said.
Chen, when addressing a graduation ceremony at Chiayi High School last month, said that alumni from the school -- which include Chang and Lee -- would serve as "presidents of the five branches" in the near future.