Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Analysis: Pundits weigh impact of Lee's exit

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The abrupt resignation of Council of Labor Affairs Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) earlier this month would not have a "domino effect" on the rest of the Cabinet in the run-up to the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) primary this week, political observers said.

Lee called an impromptu press conference last Tuesday where he said he was quitting because of the Cabinet's decision to put on hold the council's plan to announce a raise in the minimum wage.

Lee also said he had found it difficult to deal with Premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) insinuation that former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who is vying in the party's nomination for next year's presidential election with Su, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kin and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), was a crafty politician.

Su has not accepted Lee's resignation and has said he would try to dissuade him from leaving the Cabinet. A leave of absence, however, could be possible.

Chen Chao-jian (陳朝建), an assistant professor in the Public Affairs Department at Ming Chuan University, said he believed no one in Su's team would follow his lead and would go separate ways in the leadup to the DPP's primary.

"The time is now over," Chen said, adding that whoever wanted to leave the Cabinet to express support for other DPP presidential hopefuls would do so before long.

DPP members will go to the polls today to vote in the party's presidential and regional legislative primaries.

The party member vote will account for 30 percent of the hopefuls' total score, while a string of public opinion polls to be conducted between Wednesday and Friday will account for the remainder.

"Su has been trying to portray himself as someone who is open to all kinds of ideas, hence his inviting people who may not like him to join his team," he added.

Chen said that Lee had been frustrated with Su since the 2005 Taipei County commissioner's election because Su, who was DPP chairman at the time, did not support Lee, who wanted to run in the election as the party's candidate.

Lee, who was Hsieh's campaign manager in last December's Taipei mayoral election, launched a three-day 100km walk the day after his resignation for what he called a "walk for justice and conscience," adding the walk was the first step of his support for Hsieh.

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