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New faces added to Cabinet

Heads of health, youth, sports and indigenous peoples agencies all retained

New faces added to Cabinet
After securing his choices for finance and economics ministers, Premier-designate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday moved to pick key officials responsible for law enforcement and social welfare affairs, with ruling Democratic Progressive Party Secretary-general Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) confirmed as head of the Ministry of Interior.

Deputy National Security Bureau (國安局) chief Wang Ginn-wang (王進旺) is to take charge of the Coast Guard Administration and ministers of Justice and Education Shih Mao-lin (施茂林) and Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) are both to retain their posts.

Meanwhile, Minister of Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) , who was earlier considering joining the December election for Kaohsiung mayor, will take the helm of the Council of Agriculture.

Su Tseng-chang, who has embarked on intensive discussions with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on the Cabinet line-up, confirmed last night that he has asked Lee to administer and oversee law and order, population, land, social welfare, local administration systems, and disaster rescue affairs.

The incoming premier said the new Cabinet will seek to carry out its duties in line with Chen's New Year Day address. Chen declared in the speech that he will devote his remaining tenure as president to promoting a new constitution through a referendum and tighten cross-strait investment to curb Taiwan's economic dependence on China.

Lee, 51, has been known for his down-to-earth and rigorous personality during his two decades of political career. With a master's degree in political science from National Taiwan University, he worked as deputy interior minister, head of Central Personnel Administration, Bureau of Civil Affairs director under Taipei City Government before taking up the current DPP post.

Lee also worked for The China Times as a reporter for a year before entering politics in 1984 when he headed the Formosa Magazine. He is considered a member of the Chen clique because of his close ties with the president. He worked as a legislative assistant in 1987 when Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) was a lawmaker.

Besides recruiting Lee, Su invited Wang to lead the Coast Guard Administration in the hope that Wang can better ensure the safety of the country's coastline and waters. Created in February 1, 2000, the administration is charged with tasks that include maintaining open access to the ocean, patrolling the coast, apprehending smugglers, carrying out rescue operations and preserving natural resources.

Wang, 59, served in several top police posts, including that of National Police Administration director-general, before being appointed to the National Security Bureau.

Earlier yesterday, Su had a meeting with Interior Su Jia-chyuan and secured his nod to steer the Council of Agriculture.

Aides said Su Jia-chyuan accepted the offer partly because he did not want to compete with former Council of Labor Affairs (勞委會) chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) for the Kaohsiung mayoral candidacy as the competition may mar their friendship. Su Jia-chyuan, 50, said he would be able to take advantage of his experience as Pingtung County magistrate to help boost the nation's agriculture industry.

Meanwhile, Shih and Tu are both to stay on, as are Council of Labor Affairs Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), Council for Hakka Affairs Chairman Lee Yung-teh and Environmental Protection Administration chief Chang Kuo-lung (張國龍). Head of the Department of Health Hou Sheng-mou (侯勝茂), National Youth Commission Chairwoman Cheng Li-chun, Council of Indigenous Peoples Chairman Walis Pelin (瓦歷斯貝林), and head of the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chen Chuan-shou will all retain their posts.

But the National Science Council and National Palace Museum will be headed by former top health official Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and the museum's deputy head Lin Man-li, respectively.

The premier-designate also named former Public Television Service chairman Wu Feng-san (吳豐山) and former deputy Taipei County Magistrate Lin Hsi-yao as ministers without portfolio.

With the new Cabinet due to take office Wednesday, reports say that either Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) or Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) is to serve as presidential secretary-general.