Vice Premier Sean Chen could be appointed premier and tasked with forming a Cabinet capable of dealing with the impact of the European debt crisis as a possible Cabinet reshuffle is mulled following President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election on Saturday.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the vice president-elect, yesterday returned to his post after taking leave for a month to focus on the campaign. However, both Wu and Chen were quiet about a Cabinet reshuffle.
Following a meeting hosted by Ma on Sunday night to discuss a possible reshuffle with members of the Executive Yuan and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the timing of any moves were not determined, Executive Yuan spokesperson Philip Yang (楊永明) said yesterday.
Previously, Cabinet members would resign en masse before a new legislature convened in a show of respect for the new legislature. However, the government has yet to decide whether it will follow the practice because this was the first time the presidential and legislative elections were held at the same time, Yang said.
One scenario reportedly under consideration is whether Ma keeps the Wu Cabinet in place until May 20 by either reappointing Wu as premier or by rejecting his resignation after Wu resigns as a formality ahead of the swearing-in of the new legislature on Feb.1. A second scenario could see Ma accept Wu’s resignation and replace him with a new premier, most likely Chen, before the new legislature convenes.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said the Cabinet should undergo a complete reshuffle to better deal with the European debt crisis.
DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the European debt crisis was deepening and the current election-oriented Cabinet should be turned into a financial-oriented Cabinet.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said the Executive Yuan would form a task force, rather than conduct an immediate reshuffle.
KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said the Cabinet would face a reshuffle next month when the new legislature opens and also in May when Ma begins his second term.
“Whether there is a minor reshuffle in February followed by a major reshuffle in May, or simply a major reshuffle in May, is still being considered by President Ma,” Lai said.
Lai said the Cabinet doesn’t need to change just because the elections are over, adding that the current Cabinet was an “action Cabinet.”
Additional reporting by CNA