Tue, Dec 02, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Jiang’s Cabinet resigns over vote

By Chen Hui-ping  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Premier Jiang Yi-huah, third left, front row, smiles for a photograph with Cabinet members in Taipei yesterday to mark their resignation after the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) poor showing in the nine-in-one elections.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and his entire Cabinet resigned yesterday in the wake of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) crushing defeat in Saturday’s nine-in-one elections, results that were widely seen as a vote of no confidence against the government.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has yet to name Jiang’s replacement, so the 81-member Cabinet will remain in a caretaker role until a new premier is sworn in.

Ma also serves as KMT chairman and many speculate that he will step down from that role to take responsibility for the electoral outcome when the party’s Central Standing Committee meets tomorrow.

Speaking at a meeting after tendering his resignation, Jiang urged Cabinet members to stand firm at their posts and uphold their duties during the caretaker period to ensure that the nation’s operation continues smoothly.

He said that any major or controversial policies should be left for the new Cabinet, adding that Saturday’s polls demonstrated that many people are not satisfied with the direction the government is taking.

The most hotly contested races in the elections were those of the five special municipalities — Taipei, New Taipei City, Greater Tainan, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung, as well as Taoyuan County, which is to be upgraded to a special municipality on Dec. 25.

While the KMT managed to maintain its hold on New Taipei City, it lost Taipei to independent candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), and surrendered Taichung and Taoyuan to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which retained Kaohsiung and Tainan.

The DPP took 47.5 percent of all votes cast across the nation, compared with the KMT’s 40.7.

“In addition to respecting the opinions expressed by the people through their votes, we should closely examine why we could not win support from more voters,” Jiang said.

Despite the solemn occasion, the premier smiled and appeared relaxed while he took group photographs with his Cabinet as a parting memento.

Due to the en masse resignation, several committees in the Legislative Yuan adjourned early yesterday because a lot of Cabinet ministers were absent from the committee meetings.

Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who on Sunday resigned as one of the KMT’s vice chairmen, yesterday refused to comment on rumors that he could be selected as the next premier.

He simply said that he would support Ma’s choice for the post, adding that he has no information on potential candidates, nor had he discussed the matter with the president.

Commenting on the issue, former DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that Jiang’s resignation was not the appropriate response to the public’s dissatisfaction and anger, as these are directed at Ma.

“That the premier of the nation has come to shoulder responsibility for the KMT’s electoral loss exemplifies the absurdity of Taiwan’s constitutional system,” Su said.

Su called for fundamental reforms to the Constitution, which he said grants too much power to the president. He also urged a lowering of what he called an unattainable legal threshold for recall acts against the president or no-confidence votes against the Cabinet, saying that this makes the government unaccountable to the public.

The governmental system does not have the mechanisms to respond effectively to public opinion, leading to a lack of trust between the citizenry and the administration that in turn has prompted a democratic crisis in the nation, he said.

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