Executive Yuan spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday denied that the government had reversed its decision to nominate former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) as the next chairperson of Taipei Financial Center Corp, saying that Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) never approved the decision in the first place.
Su’s remarks contradicted Hsu’s account of the matter. Hsu said yesterday that Deputy Minister of Finance William Tseng (曾銘宗) informed him by telephone at about 4pm on Wednesday that his nomination was finalized.
Meanwhile, an anonymous source within the Cabinet said yesterday that Hsu’s nomination was finalized but senior officials called an emergency meeting later on Wednesday afternoon to reverse the nomination.
After the meeting, a different version of the story emerged, with officials saying the procedure to nominate Hsu had not been completed because Liu hadn’t signed off on the proposed nomination, the source said.
The Chinese-language United Daily News first reported on the nomination of Hsu in a story on Wednesday.
Vice Premier Paul Chiu (邱正雄) confirmed the nomination when asked by reporters at about 2pm that day.
At the time, Chiu said he had seen documents showing that the Executive Yuan had approved of the Ministry of Finance’s nomination.
Chiu’s confirmation drew instant criticism from lawmakers across party lines, with many speculating that the nomination was payback for Hsu’s withdrawal from the KMT’s Yunlin County commissioner primary.
Hsu planned to run for the county seat as the KMT candidate but withdrew from the party primary on Tuesday.
Later on Wednesday, Su arrived at the Executive Yuan’s press room to play down Chiu’s comments, saying that what Chiu saw was a document from the ministry suggesting Hsu’s nomination and not the final approval signed by the premier.
KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) yesterday criticized the Executive Yuan for backtracking on Hsu’s nomination.
“This is a lose-lose situation for the Executive Yuan, Hsu and 101,” Lee said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), on the other hand, criticized the government for violating the Public Officials Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) and the Act Governing the Administrative Impartiality of Public Officials (公務人員行政中立法).
DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) told a press conference that the KMT, the government and Hsu violated the two acts, saying that this was a classic case of the government illegally interfering with a party primary.
The deal involved “shady” profits, he said.
Cheng said Article 97 of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act stipulates that a candidate who gives up on a campaign bid in return for some form of illegal profit face a prison sentence of between three and 10 years combined with a fine ranging from NT$2 million (US$61,000) to NT$20 million.
Article 101 of the same law specifies that the sanctions are also applicable to party primaries, Cheng said.
Meanwhile, Article 6 of the Act Governing the Administrative Impartiality of Public Officials prohibits government officials from taking advantage of their position to convince other individuals to run or not run in election campaigns.
In a related story, DPP Legislator Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) yesterday apologized for calling Yunlin the “home of gangsterdom” earlier in the day.
Twu originally called the press conference to ridicule Hsu for not understanding that he was what Fan Lan-chin (范蘭欽) called a Taibazi (台巴子, Taiwanese redneck). Fan was the pen name used by former Government Information Office official Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英), who used insulting terms to refer to Taiwan and Taiwanese people.
“Why was an appointment that had already received the OK reversed? The reason is that Hsu does not understand that he is a ‘Taiwanese redneck.’ Simply put, anyone of Taiwanese origin who tries to gain a position will end up looking bad,” Twu said.
In a slip of the tongue he also called Yunlin “the home of gangsterdom” and said “Taiwanese rednecks had better be careful [there].”
Yunlin County Council Speaker Su Chin-huang (蘇金煌) criticized Twu for “talking nonsense” and said “Yunlin is absolutely not the home of gangsterdom.”
KMT Yunlin County councilors Li Chia-fen (李佳芬), Lin Tsai-tien (林再添) and others also criticized Twu for insulting Yunlin residents.
Li said Yunlin lacked resources and that most residents were simple, honest, hardworking farmers with great determination and ambition despite their poverty.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG AND STAFF WRITER
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