Thu, Feb 03, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Yu says he is ready to promote reform

NEW ROLE The new Presidential Office secretary-general said that he would promote communication between political parties. He denied any conflict with Vice President Lu

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Undertaking constitutional reforms and promoting communication between the leaders of the governing and opposition parties will be the first two major tasks confronting him in his new role, Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday.

Yu made the remarks in an interview with a local television station yesterday afternoon, one day after he was sworn in as Presidential Office secretary-general.

This is the second time that he has served in this post. Yu, who stepped down as premier on Jan. 24, served as Presidential Office secretary-general in 2000 during President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) first term in office.

During the interview, which lasted about an hour, Yu revealed that, during his term as premier, he had three times asked to resign from the position.

The first time was in March last year, shortly after the presidential election. The second was after the Dec. 11 legislative elections, in which the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) failed to achieve its goal of gaining a legislative majority.

The third time was a few days before he was to lead his Cabinet in stepping down ahead of the swearing-in of the new legislature.

Chen rejected his resignation offer every time, Yu said.

Yu said the reason he had wished to resign was "because I wanted to give President Chen new space, as new people are needed to allow room for a new mind-set and a new set-up in the political arena."

When asked about his future interactions with Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) after the apparent conflicts between the two during Chen's first term as president, Yu said he has no worries.

"There were misunderstandings. We should let bygones be bygones and look toward the future," he said.

One confrontation with Lu in 2001 over her residential budget stands out. Lu had blamed Yu and budget officials for failing to show her due respect in planning for her housing budget when they failed to notify her of a plan to purchase redwood furniture for her new home.

Stating that he has great respect for Lu, Yu said he would work to resolve misunderstandings between them to prevent similar conflicts during his term in his new post.

Yu yesterday played down concerns about the line-up including him, Lu, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and the DPP's incoming chairman, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), saying that they are all striving to make a contribution to the lives of the people of Taiwan.

"Under the leadership of President Chen, we are all working as one team to lead Taiwan toward substantial development and improve the people's well-being," Yu said.

He declined to comment on a question about who will be the DPP's candidate in the 2008 presidential election, saying that "all things are unpredictable."

Yu stressed that the DPP would handle all matters in accordance with the party's internal democratic system.

"Good things about the DPP is that it is not only a pro-localization party, it is also a democratic party. Whoever the future leader will be, their appointment will be the result of the party's democratic procedures," he said.

Yu said that Chen has never asked him whether he wanted to become the DPP chairman.

"I want to point this out here, to be fair to Su," Yu said, adding that Su had always been Chen's only preferred candidate for the DPP's chairmanship.

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