Wed, Feb 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh leaves door open for opposition vice premier

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) again hinted at the possibility of finding a vice premier from an opposition party yesterday, and said he has not given up hope that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) could fill the position.

Despite the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s failure to vote out Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) as legislative speaker, Hsieh remained optimistic on prospects for a coalition Cabinet.

"I will not try to contact any individual from the opposition parties without going through the parties' headquarters first, out of respect," Hsieh said when the media asked him whether he was still looking for a vice premier from the opposition camp.

"Since the opposition parties have claimed that none of their members can become Cabinet officials without the parties' consent first, if I want to find someone from the opposition party, I will have to reopen the door for cross-party negotiations, or I will visit the chairmen of the opposition parties [to talk about the matter]," Hsieh said.

When asked about whether he had a candidate in mind, Hsieh said that as long as the candidate he asked considered himself to be suitable, then that candidate would be an appropriate choice.

"But right now I want to wait a few more days before settling on anyone," Hsieh said.

Hsieh made the statement right after he attended the Taiwan Solidarity Union inauguration ceremony for caucus whips at the Legislative Yuan, which took place after Wang was reelected speaker.

The TSU ceremony was also the first public meeting of the premier and new speaker.

According to a top KMT official, Hsieh was still keen to ask Chiang to become vice premier, and Chiang was also interested in the position.

The KMT has said that no KMT member can become a Cabinet official without the party's consent. Hsieh therefore asked Wang in private yesterday to help him persuade the KMT party headquarters to let Chiang take the appointment, according to the same official.

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