Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), again faced with rumors he will be the country's next premier, yesterday denied it once again while rejecting his party chairman's offer to be the No. 1 pick on the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) list of legislators-at-large.
"I will not be forming a Cabinet. It is just speculation," Wang told reporters when confronted with the question that has occurred from time to time amid media stories that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) will not hold the post long.
It has been rumored that former president Lee Teng-hui (
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
Wang confirmed that Ma had encouraged him to accept the offer of being top of the party's list for a legislator-at-large position during the two meetings, but he said that the chairman's offer had nothing to do with the rumors of him forming a Cabinet.
"Chairman Ma didn't talk to me about the rumors, and I myself also think that it's very important to stay in my post of legislative speaker and do my job well," he said.
Wang said he didn't take up Ma on the offer because it might be regarded as a "shady deal" since the party hasn't yet come up with a method for nominating its legislators-at-large.
However, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he believed Wang took an ambiguous attitude to Ma's offer because he wants to keep all avenues of cooperation with the pan-green camp open because of the mounting pressure on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to resign.
Meanwhile, KMT legislative caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (
"The drive to topple Su's Cabinet could be a good way to show our discontent with the president," Tsai said.
People First Party legislative caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (
"I urge Chairman Ma to think about it. Now that the pan-blue camp holds a majority in the legislature, it would not be wrong for Wang to be the premier," Lu said.
At a separate event yesterday, Su said that irresponsible rumors made about specific individuals without any proof should not be encouraged by the media.
"These kinds of rumors are the reasons our society is in such a mess," Su said during the opening speech at the National Conference for Youth Human Resource Development.
When asked by the press on the sidelines of the event for comments on a story in the Chinese-language China Times which cited an anonymous DPP heavyweight as saying that Su would step down before President Chen, Su avoided the question and quickly took off from the scene.
Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang