Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) led his 76 Cabinet members in resigning yesterday, beginning the process of ending eight years of rule by the administration of outgoing President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
President-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will be inaugurated on Tuesday. The new Cabinet will be sworn in on the same day.
Chang yesterday awarded top-grade merit medals to all his Cabinet members, thanking them at the last weekly Cabinet meeting.
“I believe all Cabinet members have done their best for the country and the people during their time in government and will leave the Cabinet without compunction. This will be a splendid and memorable period in your lives,” Chang said.
The premier said he was proud of all members of his Cabinet as they “raced against time” in doing their jobs.
Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said after the ceremony that even though the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government was to step down, “it will do a better job next time when it regains power.”
“I believe that the KMT learned a lot over the past eight years [since it lost power in 2000] and the DPP will perform better next time when we hold the reins of government,” Shieh said.
In related news, incoming premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said in an interview with a Japanese newspaper that the KMT administration would push for UN entry for the country in a “pragmatic way.”
Liu told the Yomiuri Shimbun that the DPP government’s policy of applying for UN membership under the name Taiwan needed to be adjusted because it didn’t benefit the country nor did it win the support of the international community.
“Joining the UN is the wish of most Taiwanese people and it should be advanced in a pragmatic way,” he said.
“The official name of the country is the Republic of China,” Liu was quoted as saying in the interview.
Liu said that revising the DPP administration’s policy of UN participation could help improve cross-strait relations because China viewed the DPP’s policy as a step toward the country’s pursuit of independence.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA