Editorial | New Cabinet, same ministers – Did Taiwan ruling party learn any lesson?

Was the Cabinet reshuffle just meant to give a new start to the unsuccessful party heavyweights who failed in their election bids? (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (The China Post) – Premier Su Tseng-chang and his Cabinet members were sworn into office on June 14, including ten new Cabinet members who joined after the reshuffle, and another two-thirds who stayed in their posts.

In this regard, former Kuomintang legislator Sun Ta-chien rightly remarked that except for the vice-premier, the secretary-general and the transportation minister, most Cabinet members belong to the previous government, making him conclude that “this is truly a ‘fantastic’ Cabinet reorganization!”

The new Cabinet members include Vice-Premier Chen Chi-mai, the former spokesperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who was defeated in Kaohsiung’s mayoral elections, and Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-long, the former Taichung mayor who failed in his re-election bid. There is, therefore, little wonder that the new government is called the “defeated alliance,” according to Sun.

In addition, most of the ministers and heads of government agencies have remained in their posts, including Pan Wen-chung who is the minister of education again. According to Sun, this will lead to further disenchantment with the ruling party at four levels.

To begin with, was the stinging defeat in the mayoral election the sole responsibility of Lai Ching-te? Was it all his fault? If this was not the case, how can the government show a renewed administrative performance if only a few members were replaced?

Second, Premier Su is now regarded as the “savior” and “all-in-one” political leader, so why would the ruling party support Lai Ching-te in the first place? Is it some political cynicism and just an overstatement?

Third, is the reason why most of the Cabinet members have remained in the Cabinet to maintain the distribution of interests among DPP factions? In other words, does it mean that most of the Cabinet members were actually decided by President Tsai? Is the authority of the new premier quite limited?

Fourth, is the Cabinet reshuffle just meant to give a new start to the unsuccessful party heavyweights who failed in their election bids?

Well, the ruling party will only learn from its mistakes after it admits making them. As long as the DPP leadership continues to blame others, they will distance themselves from any possible lesson. That’s what we hope the new premier will learn: that he will stand up and honestly say: “That was our mistake, and we are responsible.”

Admission to a mistake, even if only privately, will make learning possible by moving the focus away from blame assignment and towards understanding. Wise people admit their mistakes easily. They know progress accelerates when they do, and speedy economic development is what Taiwan needs for now.