Thu, May 17, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Su, Cabinet step down to pave way for new premier

EXECUTIVE RESHUFFLE The outgoing premier said he hoped the work that began under his watch could be continued, and that the budget issue would be resolved

By Jimmy Chuang and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Former premier Su Tseng-chang, front right, shakes hands with members of his Cabinet after posing for a group photo following the Cabinet's resignation yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and his Cabinet tendered their resignations yesterday to pave the way for premier-designate Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) to take over as head of the Executive Yuan on Monday.

Su and his Cabinet members took a group photo after presiding over the weekly Executive Yuan meeting earlier yesterday to commemorate the last day of his nearly 16-month tenure.

Su said that although he had met with numerous political challenges during the past 16 months, the help he received from the Cabinet enabled him to deal with the problems.

"I would not say we did a perfect job, but we definitely did something remarkable," he said.

"The unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent. The TAIEX reached 8,000 points," he said. "I think we managed to do something meaningful."

Su also talked about his "Big Warmth" plan. The plan is set to be implemented over a three-year period, and forms the first stage of the government's Economic Development Vision 2015 strategy. The total cost of the project is estimated at NT$1.17 trillion (US$35 million).

"Some of you might be leaving, while some of you may stay. But no matter what, I do hope that our policies can be continued, especially projects like the `Big Warmth' plan," Su said.

The stalled annual government budget proposal had also been a headache for Su.

"It has been my biggest frustration so far. I am leaving office, but I am not abandoning my people. I hope the budget issue can be resolved as soon as possible, so that the government can continue to work for the people," he said.

The Presidential Office yesterday confirmed that Chang had paid a visit to Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) in the morning, but declined to say whether they had discussed the new Cabinet line-up.

Yesterday morning Chang was tight-lipped about the Cabinet reshuffle, saying he would announce the new line-up when things are more settled. Late last night, however, Chang's office issued a statement stating that he had appointed Chiou as vice premier.

The statement said that Chen Chin-Jun (陳景峻) would be the new secretary-general of the Executive Yuan and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lu Tien-Lin (盧天麟) had been named the new chairman of the Council of Labor Affairs.

Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin (何志欽), Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆), Council of Economic Planning and Development Chairwoman Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), Minister of Transportation and Communications Tsai Duei (蔡堆) and Public Construction Commission Chairman Wu Tze-cheng (吳澤成) will remain in their positions, the statement said.

Keeping the economic and financial team intact reflects the government's decision to maintain policy continuity and market stability, analysts said.

Chen Jin-jun was a three-term DPP legislator before he assumed the post of vice minister of transportation and communications last month.

Lu is a DPP legislator-at-large working on behalf of the underprivileged on the basis of his extended experience with labor unions.

Lu said that he would maintain the government's policy of increasing the minimum monthly wage.

"Premier Su Tseng-chang had said that the minimum wage proposal would be implemented in July. It won't be necessary to change the policy," he said.

He said the proposal had been agreed upon by labor representatives, employers and the government, and that the government should therefore live up to it.

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