Sat, Nov 06, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lu gets into hot water by praising Yen Chia-kan


Remarks by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) about former president Yen Chia-kan's (嚴家淦) holding the vice presidency and the premiership simultaneously got Lu into hot water yesterday amid speculations of her political ambitions.

While speaking at a forum to commemorate Yen's 100th birthday, Lu professed to feeling envious of the fact that Yen had served as both premier and vice president.

"An appropriate amount of authority is helpful in transforming politics into governance," Lu said, pointing out that Yen had served six years as premier and that none of his successors as vice president had had the same privilege.

When asked by reporters to respond, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who had been in Kinmen at the time, rebuffed Lu's remarks.

"If I like Kinmen, does that mean that I can be both president and Kinmen County commissioner?" Chen asked.

The Presidnetial Office later said that Lu had intended only to relay a historical fact.

Yen, who was Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣介石) vice president, assumed the presidency in 1975 when Chiang died. Yen held the position until May 1978, when his presidential term expired and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) became president.

Yen was born in 1903 and died in 1993.

The Presidential Office has organized several events to commemorate Yen's centenary, including a seminar, documentary film and an exhibition about Yen. The display, which opened last month, is scheduled to run until next month, showcases photos and documents on Yen as well as some of his personal belongings.

Lu said that although Yen was born in an unfortunate era, he had lived a fortunate life, having served in all top government posts. She also praised Yen as "a professional political talent."

Lu said that she hoped Yen would bless Taiwan and that everyone would be able to recover their emotional equilibrium when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 11, the day of the legislative elections.

"Just like [Senator John] Kerry had said in his speech -- that the next morning we all wake up as Americans -- every one of us should wake up the next day [after the legislative elections] proud to be citizens of the Republic of China," she said.

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