Vice premier resigns to prepare for Xinbei City election (update-1)

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu announced his resignation Thursday, saying he will devote his energy to his campaign for mayor of Xinbei City, a new municipality that will be created later this year by upgrading Taipei County.
"I submitted my resignation to Premier Wu Den-yih Wednesday after the Kuomintang formally nominated me earlier in the day as its candidate for the Xinbei City mayoral election in November," Chu said at a news conference at the Government Information Office.
"The premier has accepted my resignation and said at the weekly Cabinet meeting today that he respected my decision," Chu added.
During his eight-plus months of service as Wu's deputy, Chu said, he has worked wholeheartedly with other Cabinet members to make Taiwan a better country.
He said that in the next six months, he will travel around Taipei County to reach out its residents and try to win their support for his policies and vision for development.
If he wins the pivotal election, Chu said, he will be able to attend the weekly meetings of the Cabinet again.
"As a local government head, I would work concertedly with the central government to develop Xinbei City into a world-class metropolis," he promised.
On the possibility that Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Sean Chen would succeed him as vice premier, Chu said Premier Wu will make a formal announcement on the new Cabinet lineup at a news conference later in day.
"I'm not in a position to talk about any personnel matters at this moment," he said.
Nevertheless, Chu said that Chen is one of his old friends.
"When I was teaching at National Taiwan University, Chen was deputy director of the Bureau of Monetary Affairs. We met often during that period," he recalled.
Describing Chen as a man of sincerity, competence and diligence, Chu said he is confident that Chen would be able to take over his job seamlessly.
"There would be no glitches in such a changeover and he would definitely do a better job than me," Chu said.
On the upgrading of Taipei County to the status of a municipality, Chu said incumbent Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei has made "an enormous contribution." "I admire his achievements," he added.
As to whether he will ask Chou to serve as his campaign manager, Chu said he will respect Chou's personal wishes.
"In any case, we will work hand-in-hand on the campaign trail, " he stressed.
On the question of how he would view his rival in the upcoming election, Chu noted that the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party has yet to name its candidate.
"I think my election campaign is my own business. I will work hard to win the hearts and minds of the electorate. I earnestly hope that the first-ever simultaneous elections for the country's five municipalities will inspire a brand new, high-quality election culture," Chu said.
A changeover ceremony for vice premier will be held May 17.
(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Sofia Wu)