Respect new caretaker Cabinet: Tsai

By Stephanie Chao ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Gearing up for the new legislative session next week, President-elect and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen called for respect of the caretaker government and the outcome of the DPP’s speakership election at a party caucus meeting on Tuesday. Apart from reiterating respect for the caucus’ decision, Tsai also said caucus members understand public expectations for good decision-making in the weeks to come, addressing media questions prior to the meeting regarding the speakership nomination. The president-elect made three points that she considered important to bear in mind before the new Legislature convenes on Feb. 1. Tsai called for the new DPP caucus to “supervise but respect” the government during the “caretaker” or “transitional” period for a stable political climate, after President Ma Ying-jeou named Vice Premier Simon Chang the new premier to lead a caretaker Cabinet on Monday. She also highlighted concentrating on improving the quality, transparency and efficiency of legislative proceedings. She called for unity and reform, in order to carry out promised reforms and implement policies, and also called on the DPP to work constructively with other parties represented in the Legislature. The president-elect congratulated incoming legislators Ker Chien-ming — who is also incumbent DPP caucus whip — and Hualien’s Hsiao Bi-khim for their victories in districts with strong pan-blue support.

Tsai welcomed new faces to the Legislature, emphasizing that the DPP’s first legislative majority comes with the responsibility of carrying out promised legislative reforms. Tsai shrugged off media questions in an interview before the caucus meeting, denying that she was at the Legislative Yuan to “direct and exert control” over caucus decisions. “I’m here to congratulate the new legislators,” Tsai said, and continued that she wanted to express her desire for caucus members, as legislators, to understand the “responsibility of meeting voters’ expectations.”

Speakership Race Sees Three Contenders The three DPP speakership contenders all united behind Tsai’s calls at the caucus meeting and pledged to respect the outcome of the speakership contest.

Speakership candidate Ker, in an interview before joining the caucus meeting, stated his respect for Tsai’s program for the Legislature.

Tsai has an “all-round consideration of the stability and harmony” between the Legislative and Executive Yuans, Ker said.

Another contender, Tsai’s campaign manager and former interior minister Su Jia-chyuan, said that he respected the caucus meeting’s outcome. “Each of the caucus members was in agreement with the chairwoman’s proposals.” When asked about whether he would actively vie for the speakership, Su said all candidates were united behind the DPP’s goals: “We are very united. Vying for it would achieve nothing,” and said he would respect the outcome of the process.

Chen Ming-wen, a former magistrate of Chiayi County and another candidate for speaker expressed his belief that DPP headquarters would lay out a good process for reforms, as legislative reform has become a major aim for the DPP after the party Central Standing Committee’s unanimous support last week.

Responding to media questions, Chen named his long experience in the Legislature and amiable relations with fellow DPP lawmakers as advantages in his speakership bid.

He stated his understanding of Tsai’s responsibility to fulfill public expectations. “An ‘unofficial vote’ would be carried out if it’s unavoidable,” Chen said.