Thu, Jan 26, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Su and his Cabinet take up new posts

PASSING THE TORCH Outgoing premier Frank Hsieh said in parting remarks that he felt like a `falling leaf,' while a vacant provincial governor spot prompted speculation

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Outgoing premier Frank Hsieh, left, yesterday passes the seal of the Executive Yuan to new Premier Su Tseng-chang, right. Presidential Adviser Peng Ming-min, center, presided over the succession ceremony held at the Executive Yuan.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

Incoming Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and his new Cabinet took up their posts in a ceremony yesterday morning that was notable for Su's failure to announce a pick for Taiwan's provincial governor.

Su's failure to nominate anyone for that post sparked speculation that the new premier intends to scrap the last vestiges of the provincial administration. But Su did not comment on the issue, and Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) denied there were any plans to do so.

"To dismiss the Taiwan Provincial Government, we would have to first amend the Constitution. For now, we do not have such plans," Lee said.

Lee said that Su did not nominate officials for the Taiwan Provincial Government because the legislature had suspended the entire annual budget for its operations.

Provincial Governor Lin Kuang-hua (林光華) said that he supported the idea of permanently eliminating his post and doing away with the office.

"I'm in favor of the idea. But necessary mechanisms should be established first before any changes are made," Lin said.

Su and his fellow Cabinet members took their oaths of office at a ceremony that began around 11am, with Presidential Adviser and Democratic Progressive Party veteran Peng Ming-min's (彭明敏) witnessing the event.

Peng described outgoing premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) as a considerate person who would "sacrifice himself whenever necessary."

The outgoing premier said that he felt like a "falling leaf" that had accidentally landed at the Executive Yuan last year, but was carried away when the wind blew again. He said that little had changed in politics since he took up the premiership a year ago.

"When I took my oath last year, Adviser Peng was also a witness, and his remarks last year were pretty similar to what he said today. It means that the political atmosphere has not changed at all," Hsieh said.

Hsieh said that he was a natural optimist and would continue to devote himself to the country as a civilian.

"While Premier Su leads the government forward, I will help him in every way I can as a civilian," he said.

After the ceremony, Hsieh was escorted to the front gate of the Executive Yuan, where his wife had been waiting inside their sedan.

Su later chaired the first weekly Cabinet meeting at 3pm. During his opening speech, Su said that his goal would be to establish a clean and effective government.

"It will be my task and challenge to make Taiwan a better country and make Taiwanese people happier," Su said.

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