The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Rumors circulating in the media that Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) would be tapped to serve as premier in September were just that, senior government officials and Lai himself said Monday. Local media reported that two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweights, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and Taiwan-Japan Relations Association President Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), had talked Lai into taking the job overseeing the Executive Yuan. In response to the reports, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said Monday that “there is no such thing (as these plans).” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) also rejected the reports, saying that the administration currently has no plans for a Cabinet reshuffle and that he would not comment further on such “speculative plots.” Lai, who canceled his morning appointments Monday, told a crowd of journalists at Tainan City Hall that the reports of DPP bigwigs persuading him into the premiership were “obviously fabricated.” Lai said he was focused on running the Tainan City Government.
The current premier is Lin Chuan (林全). Reports of Lai being lined up for the premier job have been a constant since shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen took office last May. The mayor, who is widely considered one of the most popular DPP politicians and a potential successor — and challenger — to Tsai, is seen as a means of propping up the Executive Yuan. The Cabinet has come under fire after a series of contentious policies, from the “one fixed, one flexible” workweek plan to the recent incense reduction plan, which drew thousands of protesters on Sunday.