Yeh to become first female chief of staff

The China Post staff and agencies

President Chen Shui-bian will appoint former Vice-Premier Yeh Chu-lan as the first female presidential chief of staff, Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee said yesterday. “She’s a very capable person with lots of good experience working in government,” Lee said. “She will also be the first ever female secretary-general of the Presidential Office.” The post has been left vacant for nearly three months since Mark Chen was transferred from the position to serve as secretary-general of the National Security Council in an administration reshuffle that followed the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP’s) May 6 presidential primary.

Yeh, a Hakka politician who was previously reported as being favored by the DPP’s presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh, to serve as his running mate for the 2008 election, confirmed Thursday that she has accepted Hsieh’s invitation to be his top campaign manager.

It remains unclear whether Yeh will continue her leading role in the Hsieh campaign after taking up the Presidential Office post.

While announcing his decision earlier this week to team up with former Premier Su Tseng-chang, Hsieh also expressed his gratitude to Yeh, praising her selflessness and loyalty to the DPP during his search for a running mate.

Hsieh further said he will entrust her with an important position so as to live up to the expectations of the Hakka supporters. Hakkas form the second largest ethnic group in Taiwan, after Hoklo Taiwanese.

During a campaign trip to the northern county of Taoyuan Thursday, Hsieh said Yeh will help him and his running mate Su draw up their campaign platform and spearhead efforts to woo votes from women and Hakka people.

“Yeh has promised not to be absent from the election,” Hsieh said, adding that the Hsieh-Su-Yeh golden triangle will unite to fight for final victory in the 2008 election.

For her part, Yeh said she will pull out all the stops for the Hsieh-Su ticket. “The DPP must win for the sake of Taiwan, and I believe the Hakka people will stand by my side,” she added.

Although some Hakka groups have expressed disappointment at her failure to make it onto the DPP presidential ticket, Yeh said her support for Hsieh will not waiver.