The Executive Yuan on Tuesday approved a rule change submitted by the Ministry of the Interior stipulating that portraits of the incumbent president will be displayed only in overseas diplomatic missions, military agencies and Taiwan’s international airports, effective immediately, a ministry statement said.
Some government facilities, public schools and other public assembly facilities do not have to exhibit a portrait of the president, the ministry said.
The ministry’s announcement came only hours after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) assumed office earlier that day.
Ministry officials said they put forward the proposed rule change to the Executive Yuan in early May after receiving an instruction from Ma, then president-elect, to put the measure into practice as soon as he was inaugurated.
It will no longer be necessary to hang a photo of the head of state as a display of public respect, on the grounds that Taiwan has evolved into a sound democracy, Ma’s office was quoted as saying.
In the future, it will only be necessary to display the president’s portrait in certain government agencies and gatherings overseas or at certain local establishments, because of its symbolic meaning representing national sovereignty, ministry officials said.
The ministry said that only agencies affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Government Information Office, the Overseas Compatriots Affairs Commission and the nation’s international airports, as well as overseas diplomatic missions and official gatherings abroad, will be required to display a presidential portrait.