Saying it was difficult to figure out a sensible explanation for the Cabinet reshuffle that was announced yesterday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) demanded a completely new lineup.
“Despite the fact that Taiwanese remain unsatisfied with the performance of those officials in charge of economic affairs, they have been retained. We urge President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to change the entire Cabinet,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.
DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) said he suspected the change was to allow Ma to appoint his confidant King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) as Taiwan’s representative to the US and to neutralize the DPP’s no-confidence motion against the Cabinet.
“There was no political reason to explain the replacement of the foreign minister. Nor could we understand why Council of Labor Affairs minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) was not replaced, despite the fact she holds different views to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on labor policy,” Lin said.
The appointment of former presidential spokesperson Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), who has no prior experience in cross-strait affairs, as Mainland Affairs Council minister and King as envoy to the US showed that Ma always hand-picks candidates for key positions from among his inner circle, DPP lawmakers Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said.
Tsai said he did not expect groups of politicians with a similar mindset to come up with fresh ideas or new models which could revitalize Taiwan’s sluggish economy.
Meanwhile, pan-blue lawmakers expressed mixed reviews.
“I fail to see why Ma replaced officials in charge of cross-strait affairs and diplomacy when people are concerned with economic problems,” KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said.
“This amounts to no reshuffle at all because the ones who should be replaced remain in the Cabinet,” she added, demanding that Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) and Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) be replaced.
People First Party (PFP) Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) echoed Lo’s views, saying Ma has not responded “a bit” to people’s demands for a Cabinet reshuffle.
The problems facing people are economic and they want a completely new team to tackle the country’s financial policies, he said.
Another, more serious problem related to Ma’s style of governance, highlighted by the Cabinet reshuffle, was “cronyism” — demonstrated by his appointments of Wang Yu-chi and King, who are two of Ma’s closest confidants, Lee added.
“The appointments of Wang [Yu-chi] and King manifest Ma’s bias and prejudice,” he said.
KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), on the other hand, praised the appointments of King, designated foreign minister David Lin (林永樂) and Taiwan’s outgoing representative to the US Jason Yuan (袁健生) as the secretary-general of the National Security Council.
In related developments, the DPP said its “Reshuffle the Cabinet, save the economy” campaign has picked up momentum with 80,000 printed promotional materials set to be distributed across the country in three days.
The party called for supporters to call the legislators of their constituencies and demand that lawmakers, KMT lawmakers in particular, support the DPP’s no-confidence motion which is scheduled to be voted upon on Saturday.
The PFP yesterday added that if Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) failed to give a promise by tomorrow that his Cabinet will properly address the issues related to electricity hikes, youth unemployment and increases in consumer prices by the end of this month, the party will vote in favor of the no-confidence motion against him.