Discussions on a Cabinet reshuffle are expected to begin today, with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) having cleared his public schedule for the rest of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Ma, who continued his public visits to temples yesterday, declined to comment when asked about plans to finalize the Cabinet reshuffle during the remaining days of the holiday while he was distributing red envelopes at Taipei’s Sung Shan Tsu Huei Temple (松山慈惠堂).
“We are here today to distribute red envelopes and give our New Year’s blessings to people,” he told reporters.
However, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the vice president-elect, said he and the president had exchanged opinions on the reshuffle, but that more discussions would be held to finalize the details.
“The president and I have talked about the issue, but it’s not yet time to reveal anything because there are more details that need to be discussed,” he said.
Ma has no public appointments scheduled from today through Sunday, and it is expected that he will be spending the time finalizing his choices for premier and new Cabinet members.
Wu is expected to lead the Cabinet in resigning en masse before the swearing-in of the Eighth Legislature on Feb. 1 in a gesture of respect for the incoming legislature.
A new premier is expected to be named before Feb. 17, as the new legislative session is tentatively set to start on Feb. 17, when the new premier will present his policy address. The reshuffle will be completed before May 19 in line with the restructuring of the Executive Yuan, which will go into effect on May 20.
Vice Premier Sean Chen is widely expected to succeed Wu. Chen’s expertise in finance makes him a perfect candidate to help Ma fulfill his promise of reviving the economy amid the European debt crisis, political pundits say.
The president also visited Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung County yesterday, and promised to devote the same amount of efforts in promoting local development in pan-green strongholds.
“Although we obtained fewer votes than our opponents here, we will not ignore the development of this area ... Over the next four years, I will look beyond party lines and do my best to improve the lives of the people,” he said during a visit to Pingtung’s Cihfong Temple (慈鳳宮).