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Cablegate: Kaohsiung Vice Mayor Suddenly Replaced

VZCZCXRO4612
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHIN #1245 2330932
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200932Z AUG 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9800
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8552
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 2215
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 2818
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 6776
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 1395
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0001

UNCLAS TAIPEI 001245

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AIT/W, EAP/TC, INR/EAP

FROM AIT KAOHSIUNG BRANCH OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV TW
SUBJECT: KAOHSIUNG VICE MAYOR SUDDENLY REPLACED

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) Summary: Kaohsiung City Government announced the
appointment of new Vice Mayor Lee Yung-te to replace out-going Chiu
Tai-shan on August 16. Although the media reported in early August
that Chiu had privately informed Mayor Chen Chu of his willingness
to resign following accusations of incompetence, Mayor Chen
adamantly denied those reports until she announced the appointment
of a new Vice Mayor on August 16. The timing of the switch came as
a surprise to the out-going Vice Mayor, who was not even in town
when his executive assistant was informed by the Mayor's office that
he was being replaced. The in-coming Vice Mayor Lee Yung-te, who is
of Hakka descent, was the former Executive Yuan Hakka Affairs
Council Chairman from 2005 to 2008 and has extensive experience in
the media industry. The move by the Mayor to replace Chiu Tai-shan
with the media savvy Lee Yung-te is seen by many as a way for her to
prepare for her reelection campaign by using Lee to handle the media
and help garner Hakka votes. End summary.

---------------------------------------------
Outgoing Vice Mayor Upset by the Short Notice
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The outgoing Vice Mayor's Executive Assistant Lee Chung-che
told AIT/K that the Mayor's office informed him on August 13 that
Vice Mayor Chiu should clean out his office by August 15. Only
later did Mayor Chen Chu call Chiu to let him know he was being
replaced. (Chiu received the call while visiting his wife in the
U.S.) On August 16, the Mayor informed the press that Lee Yung-te
would replace Chiu as Vice Mayor on August 18. Chiu's Executive
Assistant told AIT/K that the former Vice Mayor was furious over the
way the Mayor handled the situation. Although Chiu had offered his
resignation verbally to the Mayor in June, Chiu had received no
indication of if or when the Mayor would replace him. Chiu thought
it was particularly rude of the Mayor to kick him out even before he
could get back from the States to clean out his office.

--------------------------------
Mayor Chen Chu's Re-election Bid
--------------------------------

3. (SBU) Chiu's ouster is likely part of the Mayor's longer-term
effort to get ready for the 2010 Mayoral election. The new Vice
Mayor, Lee Yung-te, is of Hakka descent and comes from Mei-nung
Village in Kaohsiung County. His Hakka origins may boost the
Mayor's candidacy since the Hakka community constitutes 13 percent
of the eligible voters in Kaohsiung. Lee's history in journalism
may also prove a valuable asset in promoting Chen Chu's expected
reelection bid.

---------------------------------
Bio of New Vice Mayor Lee Yung-te
---------------------------------

4. (U) Lee was born on May 30, 1955 in Mei-nung Village, Kaohsiung
County. Lee graduated from National Cheng Chi University in 1976.
He worked as a Researcher at the College of Mass Communication in
Stanford University in association with the Knight Ridder Foundation
from 2000 to 2001. He most recently served as the Executive Yuan
Hakka Affairs Council Chairman from 2005 to 2008 and as Vice
Chairman in 2004. He has also worked as the General Manager of a
Public Television Service Foundation and as a reporter and Chief
Editor for the defunct Independent Evening Post.

-------
Comment
-------

5. (SBU) Although many in Mayor Chen Chu's own party (DPP) doubt her
ability to wage a successful reelection campaign due to her poor
health, this recent replacement of her Vice Mayor is one more
indicator that she intends to run again in 2010.

Yu

Wang

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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