Chen Ding-nan to run for Ilan office

CONFIRMATION: Speculation about Chen's move had been bubbling for the last week, but the justice minister played his cards close to his chest until yesterday


Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 3

Ahead of today's schedule en masse Cabinet resignation, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) yesterday said he will run for the Ilan County commissioner's seat after he steps down.

"I will carry the political cross again for the people of Ilan," the minister said yesterday. "This is my responsibility."

Chen made the remarks in an unscheduled press conference.

Chen said that there are still a lot of ongoing work at the ministry and he did feel sorry that he has to leave the post along with the Cabinet now. But he will try his best to continue his service to the people of Ilan people if he wins the campaign in December.

"Many people have tried to persuade me to return to my hometown for the commissioner's campaign after I leave the minister's office," Chen said. "I cannot ignore their calls and requests."

The minister said that he actually told Premier Yu Shyi-kun about the decision a long time ago. However, he decided not to make the information public because he did not want to leave the impression that he was being replaced.

"Many news agencies kept up criticism about me and that has been my biggest worry," Chen said. "If this information had been made public too early, I am afraid that those people who do not like me would have taken advantage of the issue to attack me as well as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). That is bad."

The ministry distributed mobile phone text messages to reporters as a notice of a press conference on Friday afternoon but the press conference was eventually cancelled.

Chen said that he was planning to announce this decision during the press conference but decided instead to give himself more time.

"I enjoy a challenge and I will always do my best," Chen said.

The Cabinet will resign en masse tomorrow in a customary move following legislative elections, an official said.

Yu will lead his 20-member Cabinet in resigning following last December's vote, Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), director of the Government Information Office, said on Saturday.

It is customary for the Cabinet to resign en masse following legislative elections, but most of the ministers are expected to be returned to their posts once a new premier is picked.

``The reshuffle is expected to be on a small scale,'' Lin told reporters.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is expected to name Yu's replacement next week, Lin said.

Local newspapers have speculated that the new premier will be Frank Hsieh, mayor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city. Hsieh, a member of the DPP, is known as a skillful negotiator.