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Opposition DPP pans president's recently disclosed Cabinet changeup

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The major opposition party gave the thumbs down yesterday to President Ma Ying-jeou's just-disclosed Cabinet changeup.

Late Wednesday, the Presidential Office released a written statement confirming media rumors that Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) will be replacing departing Premier Sean Chen, and that Transportation Minister Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) will be appointed as vice premier.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang said yesterday that the Cabinet changeup falls short of party's hopes.

Both Mao and Jiang have problematic records, according to Su.

“Just yesterday, Jiang had spoken carelessly,” he said, citing Jiang's claim on Thursday that the DPP's pension reform plan would “hound the working class to death.”

As for Mao, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has been in “pure chaos” since his tenure, according to Su. “Mao should be demoted, not promoted,” he said.

What Taiwan needs in the Cabinet lineup are fresh faces that can alter policy, according to Su.

“It's not enough to reshuffle the Cabinet. It's more important to change policy,” he said.

Last year Ma produced a series of policies that are inefficient, riddled with errors and against the grain of public sentiment, he said. The DPP calls on Ma to convene a “good Cabinet to address the current chaos.”

“That's what can mitigate public suffering, and that's what the people expect,” he said. In upcoming months, the DPP will strengthen its supervision of the ruling administration to help Taiwan weather tough times, according to Su.

Also yesterday, the major opposition party called out Ma for announcing his appointments via late-night press release. Any change to the Cabinet is an important national issue, said Su. “An announcement in that manner is ridiculous, gimmicky and a rarity in the international community.”

Unintentional: Chen

Ma had not intended to announce his appointments via Thursday's late-night press release, said the departing premier at the Executive Yuan yesterday.

Chen said he submitted his formal request for resignation on Jan. 23, and received Ma's decision on the evening of Jan. 28.

“(Ma) wanted to handle things step by step — there were issues he needed to discuss with others, and people he wished to consult. Originally, the president had planned to publicly announce the appointments next week,” said Chen.

But a large media leak early Thursday evening had precipitated action from the Presidential Office, which followed up media rumors with a written statement, said Chen.

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