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April 30, 2017

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KMT, DPP have mixed reactions to reshuffle of Cabinet personnel

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday had mixed responses to the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

The KMT legislative caucus said that it respects the Executive Yuan's decision, while the DPP caucus said that changing Cabinet members during a period in which the Legislature is conducting interpellation equates to disrespecting the Legislature.

The Executive Yuan announced yesterday morning that Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) has decided to return to teaching, and that his position will be filled by Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁). The Ministry of Science and Technology, on the other hand, will be headed by Minister without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政), while the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will be headed by Wei Kuo-yen, professor at National Taiwan University's Department of Geosciences, following the departure of incumbent EPA Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏).

KMT Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), who doubles as chief executive of the ruling party's Policy Committee, said that the Cabinet had its own considerations when it decided to go ahead with the reshuffle, and that the personnel adjustment was made in the hope of boosting executive performance.

KMT caucus whip Wang Ting-son (王廷升) said that Lee met with the caucus as scheduled yesterday morning to discuss major bills of the current legislative session.

Although Lee's tenure as minister ends on Feb. 28, the minister has displayed a responsible attitude, Wang said.

The caucus whip said that Lee didn't express his feelings on the reshuffle, but that the minister didn't seem to be bothered at all.

With regard to the Cabinet secretary-general taking over the Ministry of the Interior, Wang expressed optimism, adding that hopefully Lee will impart knowledge gleaned from his experience as well as his expertise on land preservation to Chen in order to ensure a seamless transition.

KMT lawmaker Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), who sits on the Legislature's Internal Administration Committee, said that apart from working within the Executive Yuan, Chen also served within the Taiwan Provincial Government's Construction Department (台灣省政府建設廳), adding that the Cabinet secretary-general is well versed with affairs related to the Interior Ministry.

The Opposition

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that the Executive Yuan treats political affairs like a game, adding that President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) have lost their control.

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said that the Executive Yuan should repropose its policy plan and that interpellation sessions should be held again, while fellow party lawmaker Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said that finance and economy-related officials with comparatively low poll ratings have been retained and that the reshuffle was made solely in accordance with the premier's personal preference.

Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus whip Lai Zhen-chang (賴振昌) said that despite his determination to boost the economy, the president hasn't replaced finance and economy-related officials, and that the premier's replacement of Cabinet members with high poll ratings is indicative of a political struggle.

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