Senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members, business leaders and civic groups have called for Premier William Lai (賴清德) to stay on since he last week reiterated his resolve to step down to take political responsibility for the DPP’s election losses, saying that it would benefit economic development and avoid incongruence in government policies.
Many people have texted him, expressing the hope that Lai would stay in his post, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said, adding that he had never seen people so united in an attempt to persuade an official to stay.
Many said it would be a shame if Lai resigned, Cho said.
One senior DPP member even wrote a poem to try to persuade the premier to stay, Cho said, declining to disclose its author.
Former Examination Yuan president Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), a senior DPP member, said that while he did not text Cho, he believed that Lai had done a “pretty good job” over more than one year in office and should stay on.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), not Lai, should be held responsible for the DPP’s election rout, as she took the lead on pension reform and the much criticized “one fixed day off, one flexible rest day” labor policy, Yao said.
Now that Tsai has resigned from her post as DPP chairperson, Lai should stay, he said.
Six of the nation’s largest business associations have also requested that Lai remain in his post, Cho said.
Asked whether there is still room for negotiation over the premier’s pledge to resign “when the time is right,” Cho said that the question could only be answered by Lai himself, whose resolve to assume responsibility for the losses remained unchanged.
Calls for Lai to continue have been “quite loud,” Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said, citing encounters during official visits with Lai to individuals and civic groups.
Most of the people they visited approved of Lai’s performance, with many asking him to stay, but Lai just responded with a smile, Kolas said.
The business associations agreeing that a premier should stay in their post is rare, she said, adding that the business representatives Lai and she have received have all expressed regret over Lai’s statement.
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