Mon, Jan 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Su Tseng-chang tipped to replace Hsieh as premier


The Cabinet will be dissolved and reformed before the Legislative Yuan begins its next session, and former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is the most likely person to become the new premier, party officials said yesterday.

The officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the victory of former Presidential Office secretary-general Yu Shyi-kun, who won the election with over 50 percent of the vote, established a new power structure in the party. This meant that a Cabinet reshuffle could move forward.

Yu's victory also paved the way for a return to politics by Su, who would take over the premiership. Su has been tapped by some party insiders as a possible contender for the DPP's 2008 presidential nomination.

Meanwhile, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) will be shuffled into retirement, the officials said.

As to the timetable for a Cabinet reshuffle, the DPP officials said that negotiations could take place before the Lunar New Year, with the final decision made after the holiday.

The next legislative session will begin in early February, and the new Cabinet should be in place by that time.

The officials said that, since the DPP's setback in the recent local-government elections, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has been planning a Cabinet reshuffle and has sought suggestions regarding the move.

The preference among the party's leaders has been to let Su lead the Cabinet and Yu lead the party.

A reshuffle would also allow the administration to deal with another potential problem it faces: the rejection of its annual budget proposal by the Legislative Yuan.

Last week, the Cabinet decided to file a request asking the legislature to reconsider the proposal.

But this move did not have the full support of the Presidential Office, as well as a good number of DPP officials, since the idea of asking the legislature to reconsider the budget would likely result in another setback for the Chen administration, given the pan-blue camp's legislative clout, the officials said.

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