President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has decided to appoint Vice Premier Sean Chen as the nation’s new premier, a senior Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) official said yesterday.
Chen will be officially named as the new premier on Tuesday, the same day Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) formally resigns, the official said.
Chen declined to comment, saying that he would only issue a statement once an official appointment has been made.
The 62-year-old, who graduated from National Taiwan University’s College of Law, helped to guide Taiwan through the financial crisis of 2008 as then-Financial Supervisory Commission chairman.
Chen was also behind the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on financial supervisory cooperation with China in 2009, which widened access to banks on each side of the Taiwan Strait, promoting joint financial supervision, enhanced information sharing and risk management.
He also kept a firm hand on Taiwan’s stock market, minimizing investors’ losses from the eurozone debt crisis.
Chen’s appointment could make the new Cabinet more likely to focus on economic growth, analysts said.
Questioned by reporters, Chen said Ma invited him to his official residence on Thursday for discussions, but he would not confirm the comments of the unnamed senior KMT official regarding his appointment as premier.
Meanwhile, the Chinese-language China Times reported that Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), who has been touted as a candidate for vice premier, is not interested in the post.
Deputy Legislative Speaker Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) is expected to become the new Presidential Office secretary-general and former KMT whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) is to become Executive Yuan secretary-general, local media reported yesterday.
Reacting to news of Chen’s possible appointment, Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) told reporters that he would welcome the appointment and that he hoped Chen would shake up the Cabinet with new faces.
Tsai said he hoped Chen would appoint individuals with strong financial backgrounds to the new Cabinet to help Taiwan navigate the eurozone debt crisis, which is threatening to destabilize the global economy.
Although a major Cabinet reshuffle appears unlikely, government departments that deal with financial affairs are expected to see new appointments as the new premier undertakes reforms, local media reported yesterday.