Sun, Nov 20, 2011 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTION: Ovid Tzeng replaces Emile Sheng as new culture minister

‘DREAMERS’ FALLOUT:The minister without portfolio will head the CCA, while Chiu Wen-yen and Yiin Chii-ming might also leave the government

By Shih hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Minister without Portfolio Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) has been appointed Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) minister, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday.

The announcement came one day after Wu told the press that as council minister Emile Sheng (盛治仁) had tendered his resignation on Thursday night after coming under fire over Dreamers, a musical staged to celebrate the Republic of China’s centennial last month.

Wu said the position left by Tzeng needed to be filled to maintain its vital function of overseeing educational and cultural affairs and promoting tourism.

Minister without Portfolio Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) and Environmental Protection Administration Deputy Minister Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥), who are both on the roster of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) legislators-at-large for the next term, might also leave the government, Wu said.

Wu said one of the two KMT legislator-at-large candidates had already expressed his wish to resign, and the other might follow suit.

“We have already had minor adjustments in the Cabinet. Whether there will be more is still under consideration,” Wu said.

The Taipei Times was unable to reach Tzeng for comment on his new position because he flew to Europe to attend an international conference on science on Friday night.

A scientist recognized for his work in memory, psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience, Tzeng, 67, an academic at Academia Sinica, served as minister of education from 2000 to 2002 during the former Democratic Progressive Party administration.

Sheng resigned in response to public criticism over the extravagant NT$215 million (US$7.13 million) production. Opposition politicians and people in performing arts circles have lambasted the budget as being “exorbitant” for a production that ran for only two nights.

On Friday, both President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Wu acknowledged that it had negatively affected the public’s view of the administration.

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