Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said that he will stay in his post for now, but that a Cabinet reshuffle may be more sweeping than what he had previously expected.
After the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) trounced the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Saturday's local government elections, Hsieh twice tendered his resignation to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
But Chen has not accepted his resignation, and the premier said that the president asked him to help stabilize domestic politics and the economy so that normal life can resume as soon as possible after the election.
"I have said more than once that there will be some adjustments to my Cabinet team after the election," Hsieh said. "However, I am afraid that a large-scale reshuffle may be carried out now that the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] did such a poor job in the election."
The premier made his remarks after leaving the Legislative Yuan yesterday. It was his first public appearance since election night. The president has not yet shown his face in public since the DPP's debacle.
According to the premier's itinerary yesterday, he was to visit Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to seek Wang's support for the Cabinet's annual budget proposal.
"Since I took up the challenge of being premier, I have prepared myself well for stepping down someday," Hsieh said. "If the president thinks that I must leave at this moment, I will definitely leave. It will not be a problem. But now, he wants me to stay and help."
The premier said that he offered his resignation to the president after the DPP's election rout because it was the Cabinet's idea to combine three elections -- county commissioners/city mayors, county councilors and township wardens -- into one vote.
Hsieh said he had to take responsibility since some DPP members have complained that it was the Cabinet's proposal to hold the so-called "three-in-one" elections that resulted in party's defeat.
"That, I would not argue. It was my responsibility," Hsieh said.