Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) has been appointed Executive Yuan spokesperson, pledging that in her new role she would clearly explain the government’s policy to people “in plain language.”
Executive Yuan Secretary-General Steven Chen (陳士魁) said yesterday that the appointment was finalized on Friday night when Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) inquired about Cheng’s willingness to accept the position.
Cheng was one of the candidates the premier targeted for the role following the departure of Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉), who resigned on Oct. 6 following a series of controversial Facebook posts including one that outlined the fact that he was dating a former student, Steven Chen said.
Steven Chen said that Cheng was considered the most suitable person for the position at this point in time because of her familiarity with the legislature’s political culture as well as the interaction between the administrative apparatus and the KMT.
In addition she also knows how to work with the media and how to communicate with people in a language they understand, he said.
Cheng, 43, born in Yunlin County, said she felt she “wanted to do something for the country” after talking with the premier.
“I was deeply touched by his sincerity. More importantly, he is highly motivated and gave me a vision of his sense of mission for the country,” she said.
A participant in the March 1990 student movement — the largest student rally in post-authoritarian Taiwan which demanded the direct election of the nation’s president rather than by members of the now-defunct National Assembly — Cheng started her political career in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after she graduated from the Department of Law at National Taiwan University.
She was elected to the then-National Assembly in 1996, representing the DPP, serving as deputy director of the party’s Department of Youth in 2000.
After the DPP won power in 2000 under then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Cheng turned into a strong critic of the DPP.
Following an incident in 2002 in which Cheng launched an attack on the DPP’s then-Department of Health acting head Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) based upon false sexual harassment allegations made by then-People First Party lawmaker Diane Lee (李慶安), Cheng was expelled from the party. At the time Cheng said she had quit the party of her own accord.
In 2004, Cheng actively took part in protests held by the pan-blue camp accusing the DPP of staging the 319 election-eve shooting which they said had helped the DPP win the presidential election.
Cheng joined the KMT in 2005 and represented the party as a legislator-at-large in the Seventh Legislature from 2008 to 2012.
She failed to win a seat in the legislative elections in 2004 in then-Kaohsiung City as an independent candidate and lost another election earlier this year in Greater Taichung when she stood as a candidate for the KMT.
Cheng served as director at the KMT’s Culture and Communications Department and as deputy executive director at the party’s Central Policy Committee.