The new premier and his Cabinet will be sworn in today in the first Cabinet reshuffle since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office for his second term last year.
Incoming premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and vice premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) will be sworn in by Ma at the Presidential Office.
Jiang will then head to the Executive Yuan, where outgoing Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) will hand over the reins to him.
The new Cabinet will be confronted by several challenges, including the heated issue of nuclear safety, as the two-year anniversary of Japan’s March 11, 2011, Fukishima Dai-ichi disaster approaches.
State-run utility Taiwan Power Co is scheduled to apply to the Atomic Energy Council in February next year to load fuel rods into the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant’s first reactor in July next year and begin operations in October 2015.
People familiar with the issue say Ma’s intention to eventually phase out nuclear energy remains unchanged. The nation’s Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will begin operations only after it has been proven safe to operate, the source said.
The new Cabinet lineup includes incoming Executive Yuan secretary-general Chen Wei-jen (陳威仁), minister of transportation and communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時), minister of economic affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) and Council for Economic Planning and Development minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔).
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday accused Jiang of keeping silent on the Presidential Office’s unilateral late-night statement issued on Jan. 31 of his appointment and that of Mao, saying that the silence reflected controversy over Jiang’s political ideology.
Lin said Jiang published an article in 2008, when he was a National Taiwan University political science professor that accused then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of “completely disregarding the principle [of the nation’s] constitutional function, wishing to maintain control of naming the premier.”
That Jiang would keep silent and overlook Ma’s obvious violation of Article 56 of the Constitution after writing such words shows Jiang is on shaky ground, both politically and morally, Lin said.
Article 56 of the Constitution states that the position of vice premier, the heads of governmental agencies and ministers without portfolios should all be recommended by the premier to the president, who would later ratify the recommendations.
Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus whip Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) echoed Lin Chia-lung’s remarks, saying Jiang should put his words into practice and ask Ma to rescind his order.
DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) said that as the global economy shows signs of recovery, Jiang should take the opportunity to strengthen the nation’s economy.
Lin said if Taiwan cannot keep pace with the global recovery and Jiang is incapable of resolving the nation’s financial problems, it simply proves that the Ma administration is overstating its own accomplishments and Ma only promotes people like himself to leadership positions.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang