Thu, Jan 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Lu's cryptic remarks cause confusion

TALKING IN RIDDLES While congratulating new Cabinet members and Presidential Office staff, the vice president also managed to raise a few eyebrows

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

New Cabinet members, led by incoming Premier Su Tseng-chang, front left, are sworn in at the Presidential Office yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) congratulated Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Presidential Office Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) and Deputy Secretary-General Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成) on their new posts yesterday, but as usual, she also made some rather puzzling remarks.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) chaired the inauguration ceremony for Su and the other members of his Cabinet yesterday, as they swore their oaths of allegiance to the country.

After the ceremony, Lu accompanied Chen in shaking hands with each of the new members and gave them her blessing, telling one of Su's daughters that "your father has finally had his wish fulfilled."

Those attending the ceremony, including Su's daughter, seemed baffled by Lu's remarks, and made no immediate response to the vice president's confusing congratulations.

Later on, as Lu was chairing the swearing in ceremony for Mark Chen, his deputy Ma and Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), the vice president again seemed to put her foot in it.

Earlier last month, after she became the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) acting chairperson, Lu's relationship with the president seemed to be strained, and speculation circulated that the president's criticism of the vice president had originated from Ma.

Ma, the president's long-time aide, who took over as acting Presidential Office secretary-general after former secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) resigned over the Kaohsiung MRT scandal, was sworn in as deputy secretary-general yesterday.

"Ma received much more attention as the Presidential Office's acting secretary-general than I ever did as the DPP's acting chair," Lu said.

Lu added that the president has given Ma special treatment for a long time and no one in the country has ever been treated in this way by a president.

"I wish Ma would share his secret -- on how to become such a favored person -- with me," Lu said, noting that getting special favors from the president was a sign of good fortune.

While greeting Mark Chen, Lu noted that he was the original choice to be the president's running mate in the 2000 presidential campaign.

"Mark Chen didn't become the vice president because he and the president were both from Tainan and were both surnamed Chen," Lu said.

Lu said that the president felt it improper to choose a partner who was also from Tainan and had the same surname as him, and Mark Chen then gave her his place out of courtesy.

Lu, while praising Mark Chen for his life-long contributions in defending Taiwan's sovereignty and the great achievements he made while serving as Tainan County commissioner, said that he had been born in the wrong place and with the wrong surname.

Mark Chen also showed no reaction to Lu's remarks, simply saying that it was a great honor for him to serve in his new position as secretary-general of the Presidential Office.

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