Tue, Dec 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Minister meets with new NWL chair

CLOCK IS TICKING:The National Women’s League said it is willing to restart talks, one day after it replaced its chair and one day before its affiliation status is to be decided

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong speaks at a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) yesterday held an hour-long meeting with the newly appointed chairwoman of the National Women’s League (NWL), Joanna Lei (雷倩).

The meeting came one day before a planned meeting of the Cabinet’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee to decide whether the league is affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Earlier yesterday, the league called the Ministry of the Interior to signal its willingness to restart negotiations over the administrative contract drawn by the ministry, an unnamed source said.

After the league’s call, Yeh took a leave of absence from the Legislative Yuan session and received Lei for a meeting at the ministry, the source said.

Lei reportedly told Yeh that she was installed too recently to make decisions about the ministry’s conditions and told her she must consult with the league’s standing committee before coming to a decision.

Lei, a 59-year-old former KMT legislator, was on Sunday made chairwoman by the NWL’s standing committee after the ministry ordered the removal of former chair Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲), the league’s lawyer Ivy Chang (張菀萱) said.

Lei, the daughter of a navy vice admiral, was in 2004 elected for a three-year term to the legislature, where she took an interest in domestic laborers and migrant workers.

Department of Civil Affairs Director Lin Ching-chi (林清淇) on Sunday said that if the league is willing to continue with the original deal, the ministry would be happy to resume talks, but time is limited, as the assets committee is to decide today if the league is affiliated with the KMT.

The last negotiations about making the league and its financial sources more transparent were conducted on Wednesday, but the talks skidded to a halt on Friday, when the league announced that it would not sign a deal to which the league, ministry and assets committee had previously agreed.

The ministry then ordered the league to remove Koo and her deputy, Yeh Chin-fong (葉金鳳), within 10 days after it refused to sign a contract to donate its assets to the national coffers and submit to public oversight.

The league has come under scrutiny because of allegations that it illegally profited from close ties to the KMT and the former KMT regime, which is being investigated by the assets committee.

The league was established in 1950 by former first lady Soong Mayling (宋美齡) and was mainly comprised of the wives of important military figures.

Its original purpose was to unite the nation’s women to take care of military dependents so that soldiers on the front lines could concentrate on their duties without having to worry about their families.

Additional reporting by Chen Yu-fu

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