Sun, Jan 01, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Any Cabinet shuffle up to Chen

EXECUTIVE LINE-UP The president will make a decision in due time, the premier said, and implied that a KMT-PFP merger could affect the situation

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Premier Frank Hsieh points to a board of graphs and tables yesterday while selling the government's achievements in the financial and economic sectors last year.

PHOTO: CNA

The president will announce whether there will be a Cabinet reshuffle after considering the overall situation, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday.

"I believe [the president] will make his announcement at the appropriate time if he has a plan in mind," the premier said at a press conference held yesterday morning to report on the Cabinet's performance for last month.

The Cabinet has held "monthly report" press conferences since Hsieh took office in February. Yesterday's "monthly report" was the final press conference of last year and the economy was the focus at the event, during which the premier promoted and affirmed his Cabinet team.

Analyzing the landscape of the legislature after the Dec. 3 local elections in which the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a punishing defeat, Hsieh said that if the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) merge, the new party will have a majority in the legislature.

Under this scenario, it would remain constitutional for him to serve as premier, but his political legitimacy would be challenged, Hsieh said, implying that there may be a new premier should the KMT and the PFP complete a merger after the Lunar New Year.

"If they merge, the new party will become the absolute majority in the legislature. Then, although a premier like me is still legal, it will become controversial," Hsieh said.

However, if the two parties don't merge, then the DPP will be the largest party, and it will be both constitutional as well as politically legitimate for a DPP member to head the Cabinet, he added.

The premier said that even if the DPP remains the largest party, the Cabinet will still be relatively weak as the party doesn't command a majority in the legislature.

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