As his Cabinet yesterday resigned en masse, outgoing Premier William Lai (賴清德) said that he had no regrets about his time in office and hoped he would meet all his team members again “on the road to making Taiwan great.”
Lai called an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, during which he and Cabinet members affixed their official seals to a joint resignation addressed to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
After shaking hands with each Cabinet member at a ceremony, Lai gave a farewell speech.
Photo: CNA, provided by the Executive Yuan
After he took office, Lai encouraged his Cabinet to be pragmatic, he said, citing countless policy meetings and a tour of the nation’s 22 cities and counties to take stock of their progress on the Long-term Care Services Program 2.0 and the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, and assess their development needs.
It was a period of joyous moments and tragedies — such as a Puyuma Express train derailment in October last year and flooding in central and southern Taiwan in August last year — but Lai said that had no regrets or complaints about the time he spent “developing the nation, boosting the economy, serving the people and nourishing Taiwan.”
After the Democratic Progressive Party suffered crushing defeats in the Nov. 24 local elections, public frustration with the government could not be assuaged by Tsai’s resignation as party chairperson, so as the premier, he had to take responsibility, Lai said.
He told the public that he would resign at the appropriate time and with the general budget on Thursday clearing the Legislative Yuan “the time has come,” he said.
At a legislative question-and-answer session in November last year about the government’s handling of the Puyuma Express accident, he was reminded of the three terms he served as a lawmaker, Lai said, adding that the period bolstered his belief that accountable governance is the bedrock of democracy and taking responsibility is the highest expression of that accountability.
Only by resigning could he help Tsai overcome old obstacles and perform better, opening up new frontiers, Lai said.
“Here is where we met and it is where we will part. If fate so decides, we will meet again on the road to making Taiwan great,” he said.
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