Sun, Feb 22, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Economy won't improve without reshuffle: Tsai

CALL FOR CHANGEDemocratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen said that the premier owes the public an apology for failing to deliver on his promises

By Rich Chang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday the nation’s economy would not get better until there was a Cabinet reshuffle.

“A reshuffle is urgent because the economy won’t get better unless the Cabinet is replaced,” Tsai said while addressing the opening of the two-day Taiwan Citizen Conference on National Affairs convened by the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

Tsai said Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) owed the public an apology for failing to honor his promise that he would reverse the economic downturn.

“Premier Liu Chao-shiuan promised that the nation’s economy would improve in the fourth quarter, but as it turns out the nation’s GDP shrank by 8.36 percent,” she said. “Should he not apologize to the public?”

Tsai said she and her party wanted to engage in rational politics, but the more rational the DPP was, the more arrogant the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government became.

The DPP and the TSU had invited President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to attend the conference, which focuses on economic issues, but Ma declined. Instead, Ma called a meeting of the Cabinet and economic officials the same day to discuss ways to boost the economy.

Academia Sinica research fellow Chiu Hei-yuan (瞿海源), one of the committee members at the conference, said a national conference only needs to be held when the nation faces serious problems or a crisis, and the recent figures published by the government meant that the county was indeed facing serious economic challenges and that was why the conference was needed.

It was a little strange, however, that the conference was not organized by the government, but by the opposition parties, Chiu said.

The government should be more open-minded, listen to public opinion and hold meetings with the opposition parties, he said.

Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) and Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) were the only two ministers who attended the conference.

Wang told reporters she was there to listen to public opinion and would take any suggestions to the premier that she found to be practical.

At a separate setting yesterday, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said that Ma had originally decided to attend the conference and had planned to announce his decision on Friday.

However, the DPP’s “vicious interference” with the release of the premier’s administrative report on Friday had prompted Ma to change his mind, Wang said when asked to comment on Ma’s absence.

“The DPP lost a good chance to cooperate with the government after its boycott at the legislature and it has set a very bad example,” Wang said.

Also See: Conference seeks saner economic plan

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