The Presidential Office yesterday denied media speculation that it planned to replace Minister of Finance Shea Jia-dong (
The denial was a response to media speculation that the government is mulling the replacement of two or three Cabinet members.
One newspaper yesterday conjectured that Premier Tang Fei (
"This is pure media speculation," said Chen Che-nan (陳哲男), acting secretary-general to the Presidential Office, at a press conference yesterday.
Yesterday's news reports said that Shea may get the axe because of the stock market's poor performance, the minister's low popularity ratings and his proposed economic policies, which critics have attacked as "unclear."
Recent polls by the Taipei Association (
In addition, market watchers have regularly blamed Shea for inconsistency in the new administration's economic policies.
For example, Shea on two separate occasions directly contradicted President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) by pushing for a policy that would tax bonus shares of high-tech employees at market value instead of par value.
But some analysts doubt whether getting rid of Shea would be a good idea so early in the new government's term.
"It's not the ideal time to replace the finance minister at present," said Norman Yin (
Yin suggested that Shea could prove valuable as a fall-guy who could shoulder blame the next time the government runs into a crisis.
"A better solution for the new administration is to keep Shea on the job for a while and wait until something [disastrous] happens," Yin said.
Speaking to reporters yester-day, Shea said he couldn't comment on the speculation, "but at present, all major economic policies will proceed as planned."
News reports yesterday also said that Tang hadn't ruled out the possibility of replacing Cabinet members who had problems "coordinating" or "cooperating" with other ministers. The reports said Tang already had replacements in mind, though he would consult with the president upon his return from Africa.
DPP sources said yesterday that many top DPP officials were dissatisfied with the Cabinet's performance in financial and economic affairs.
In addition to Shea, DPP officials are dissatisfied with Lin Chung-yung (
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