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Greens scoff at King Pu-tsung as vice-premier rumors
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-19 12:35 PM
Word that de facto ROC ambassador to the US King Pu-tsung would be returning to Taiwan for consultations has spawned rumors in Taipei political circles that it could be to discuss taking up the post of deputy premier. On Thursday Green legislators bandied about the idea that such a move might be taken during the Chinese New Year in order to help clean up the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Jiang Yi-huah. The administration has been plagued recently by a stream of scandals and challenges including the "September struggle" between Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and the 7-in-1 elections set for December 2014.

King had been scheduled to appear before the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee Legislative Yuan on Monday but now says he will be unable to make the trip this week.

The Ma administration denied the rumors about King taking the Vice-premier post, with Presidential deputy spokesman Ma Wei-kuo calling them "groundless" and Executive Yuan spokesman Cheng Li-wen saying there was "no such thing." Still, DPP legislators had fun ridiculing the idea Wednesday, with Kao Chi-peng claiming King would be “coming to the rescue."

The latest political scuttlebutt has it that one reason for King’s sudden visit to Taipei earlier this month was to confer on a reshuffle of the Jiang cabinet reshuffle that would incorporate King as vice premier. Insiders have surmised that the move could install King in the Executive Yuan in a position similar to that of Chiu I-jen in the Chen Shui-bian administration, where he could help bolster the Cabinet while not being required to face the Legislative Yuan.

Other rumors circulating recently have tabbed Taichung Mayor Jason Hu as the leading candidate to replace Control Yuan President Wang Chien-hsuan when his current term expires.

DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai remarked Thursday morning that "King Pu-tsung's influence is everywhere" in the current political area. Kao Chi-peng chimed in saying, "Ma Ying-jeou is bringing (King) back to rescue everyone, without him there’s too much dissension in the ranks." Kao then mused, "Why can’t Ma Ying-jeou do anything without King Pu-tsung around?" He said King is a lifesaver for Ma in political matters, "like clouds on the horizon in the midst of a drought."

Legislator Wu Ping-jui of the DPP asked, if the rumors about King are true, just exactly who is in charge at the Executive Yuan? Wu said he didn’t know whether the rumors were true, all he knew was that in a political democracy, everyone in the government must take responsibility for their duties and their posts. Otherwise, he said, if decisions are made by the Vice-premier and implemented by the Premier, no one is responsible in a dysfunctional government. Wu said this would be a terrible irony in a democratic nation.

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