Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Yeh Chu-lan sworn in as secretary-general

PRAISE Vice President Annette Lu said that she had always admired Yeh's intelligence and courage as a woman and as a politician at a swearing-in ceremony held yesterday

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former vice premier Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) yesterday took the oath as Presidential Office secretary-general, the first woman and first ethnic Hakka to assume the position.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who presided over the hand-over ceremony yesterday morning, said that most former Presidential Office secretary-generals went on to fill even more influential positions, including premier, vice premier or party chairman.

Former Presidential Office secretary-general Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), for example, is the party's candidate for vice president, Lu said, and she wished Yeh good luck.

Yeh accepted the job after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) picked Su as his running mate.

Lu said that she has always admired Yeh's intelligence and courage both as a woman and as a politician.

Yeh is best known for her role in uncovering a construction scandal involving a segment of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway connecting Taipei County's Sijhih (汐止) and Wugu (五股).

The scandal, better known as the "No. 18 bid" case, cost then minister of transportation and communications Eugene Chien (簡又新) his job.

Yeh, who entered politics after the sudden death of her husband Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), has served as chairwoman of the Council for Hakka Affairs, minister of transportation and communications, vice premier and acting Kaohsiung mayor.

Deng set himself alight on April 7, 1989 as armed police attempted to break into his office following 71 days of self-imposed isolation. Deng had been charged with sedition for the anti-government stance of his magazine after it published a draft "Taiwan Republic Constitution" in 1988.

Commenting on the Hsieh-Su ticket, Lu said that Deputy Presidential Office Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) did a fine job in successfully persuading Su to pair up with Hsieh when Cho was doubling up as the secretary-general.

"The president might have pushed the Hsieh-Su ticket a little bit too hard, so Su was under a lot of pressure and ran away from the wedding," he said.

Although Chen had failed to "force Su into marriage," Lu said that Cho deserved credit for bringing up the proposal with Su and accomplishing the difficult task.

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