After days of speculation, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) is now confirmed to be the next vice premier, a senior government official told the Taipei Times on condition of anonymity yesterday.
The source told the Taipei Times that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would announce the appointment of Vice Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) to the premiership by Wednesday and that Chen would announce the list of his Cabinet members the day after Ma’s official appointment.
There has been speculation recently that Chen and Jiang would take up the premiership and vice premiership, but neither has yet confirmed that they would.
However, Chen and Jiang said that Ma has invited them to the Presidential Office for discussions.
“It’s the president’s authority to appoint the premier, and it’s the premier’s authority to name the vice premier, so it’s really not the time for them to say anything, since the president has not announced the appointment,” the unnamed official said.
Before becoming the head of the Executive Yuan’s Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission in 2008, and then the Minister of the Interior in 2009, Jiang was a professor at National Taiwan University’s department of political science.
In addition, media have speculated that Public Constructions Commission (PCC) Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) has been tapped to replace Jiang as interior minister and that former Kaohsiung County commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) would be appointed minister without portfolio.
Neither confirmed nor denied the rumors yesterday.
“I’m not denying it, but it’s just inappropriate for me to say anything at the moment because I haven’t received the final notice from my superior,” Lee told reporters when asked if he were going to be the next minister of the interior.
With a background as a civil engineer, Lee entered politics as the head of the Taiwan Provincial Government’s Hydraulic Engineering Office, then became deputy commissioner of Taipei County before becoming the PCC minister.
Yang gave a similar response.
“The [appointment] has not been confirmed yet, since I haven’t heard about the final decision. I’ll talk more if it’s been confirmed,” Yang said by telephone.
Yang, also a civil engineer, started his political career as a technician in the Kaohsiung County Government, and was eventually elected as county commissioner as a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member.
However, he quit the party in 2010 after failing to win the DPP’s nomination to contest the Greater Kaohsiung mayoral election and switched his support to the pan-blue camp, helping Ma in his re-election bid.
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