Praising Chen for his achievements during his one-year tenure, Jiang said he could never do a better job than Chen, but he eventually agreed to shoulder the responsibility because Chen “needs to have a good rest” to recover.
“I am willing to undertake the task to move the [nation] forward and create a better future,” he said.
The latest Cabinet reshuffle has consolidated Jiang’s political strength within the KMT and sparked heated discussion about an internal power struggle among potential top contenders for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016 — including Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫).
Chu congratulated Jiang and praised him for his capabilities and profound knowledge on various issues, saying he expected Jiang to handle national affairs well.
Hau also lauded Jiang for his communication and execution skills, and said the new Cabinet should strengthen its efforts to promote fiscal and economic policies because reviving the nation’s economy is the government’s priority.
He declined to comment when asked about potential plans to run in the 2016 presidential race, stressing the importance of party unity.
Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) criticized the Presidential Office’s late-night announcement of the changes as “ridiculous,” while former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said it was not appropriate, adding that matters of such scope should have been announced in daytime.
A number of pan-blue lawmakers said the Cabinet reshuffle was pointless if officials in charge of economic affairs were not replaced, while pan-green lawmakers said Jiang’s appointment once again showed that Ma only picks people from his small circle of confidantes.
The Executive Yuan also announced that Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) would succeed Mao, and that Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Wei-jen (陳威仁) would be the new Cabinet secretary-general, replacing Steven Chen (陳士魁), who would become a minister without portfolio.
Perng will be reappointed for a fourth five-year term as central bank chief, sources said.
The handover ceremony for the premier will likely take place on Thursday, the sources added.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang and staff writer