Premier-designate Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday that his new Cabinet line-up would respond positively to public expectations, a statement which has been interpreted as a hint that Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) and Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) are likely to be replaced.
“President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and I understand clearly what adjustments should be made to the Cabinet to respond to people’s wishes. That’s the direction our thinking is going. We will give thorough consideration to a reshuffle,” Jiang said.
Given the nation’s lackluster economic performance and controversial economic policies, such as increases in electricity and gasoline prices and lavish year-end bonuses granted to employees at money-losing state-owned enterprises, Shih and Yiin have often ranked near the bottom in approval ratings.
Separately yesterday, Shih, in response to media inquiries, said that he had not been consulted by either Ma or Jiang about his position and added that he sincerely hoped that they could recruit more capable people to serve the country.
Media reports have speculated that CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) chairman Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠), former deputy economics minister, could be tapped to replace Shih and that Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp chairman Schive Chi (薛琦) might be reinstated as CEPD minister.
Outgoing premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said yesterday that policy plans for the nation’s economic development advocated by his Cabinet would continue to be implemented in the new Cabinet with no disruption caused by his departure, in reference to the “Economic Power-up Plan” and a plan to establish free-trade port zones.
Chen dismissed concerns that both Jiang and vice premier-designate Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國), currently Minister of Transportation and Communications, lacked the necessary experience to craft effective economic policy.
While some critics have said the appointments were a departure from the past because neither the premier nor the vice premier had economic expertise, Chen said that both Jiang and Mao were economic experts and that they, along with other Cabinet members, have been involved in formulating the economic policies of his Cabinet.
Meanwhile, following Friday’s confirmation of Chen’s resignation and the appointment of Jiang as the new premier, the Executive Yuan said on Friday night that Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Wei-jen (陳威仁) would take over as the Executive Yuan secretary-general.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday praised Chen Wei-jen’s expertise in urban planning and construction, as well as his negotiating and administrative skills.
As speculation began to circulate about candidates for the position of Taipei deputy mayor, including former Taipei EasyCard Corp (悠遊卡公司) chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), who is said to be eyeing the Taipei mayoral election next year, Hau said he was considering all possibilities, and would announce the new deputy mayor after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih