President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday praised outgoing Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) for his contributions in reviving the nation’s economy, and insisted that he has unwillingly approved Chen’s resignation amid concerns about his health.
Ma read out an acrostic poem to thank Chen for leading the Cabinet in overcoming many challenges in boosting the economy, and leaving a legacy in terms of his contribution in leading government reform, with the embedded message reading “Sean Chen is great”.
“I am grateful for Premier Chen’s dedication in overcoming difficulties and improving the nation’s economy amid the global economic crisis ... I was struggling when approving his resignation, but his health condition requires him to rest,” Ma said at a farewell party held at the Presidential Office, attended by Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Chen’s successor, Vice Premier Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺).
The event was the first farewell party the Presidential Office has held for an outgoing premier. It also provided Ma with a public venue to discuss the latest Cabinet reshuffle, which he was scheduled to formally announce this week, but was leaked to the press on Thursday last week.
Chen cited remarks from former US president Theodore Roosevelt and said both Ma and Jiang are “the men in the arena” who lead fights and devote their efforts to the country, and he expected them to continue working for the country while ignoring criticism.
“As Roosevelt said a 100 years ago: ‘It is not the critic who counts … The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.’ President Ma and Mr Jiang should focus on the efforts to make the nation better,” Chen said.
Jiang, a former minister of the interior, is reportedly Ma’s preferred successor and a rising political star in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), as shown by Ma hand-picking him to serve as the premier.
Ma yesterday listed Jiang’s achievements in leading task forces to implement government policies to stabilize prices and pension reform plans, and said he expected the new Cabinet to revive the nation’s economy while continuing government reforms.
As to the lineup of the new Cabinet, Ma said Jiang has done a good job in finding people with great leadership abilities and capabilities in various fields, and instructed him to also take Cabinet members’ integrity into consideration in finalizing the Cabinet.