New premier sworn in, prom­ises a ‘prag­matic’ Cabi­net

Bangkok Post - - ASIA - KYODO

TAIPEI: Tai­wan’s new premier Wil­liam Lai and his cabi­net were of­fi­cially sworn in yes­ter­day, ush­er­ing in a new po­lit­i­cal era that he vows will be “down-to-earth and prag­matic”.

Speak­ing at the han­dover cer­e­mony at the Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan in the cap­i­tal, Taipei, Mr Lai said his pri­mary task is to de­velop the na­tional econ­omy and im­prove peo­ple’s well­be­ing rather than to build po­lit­i­cal mo­men­tum ahead of the next elec­tion.

The 57-year-old premier was re­fer­ring to spec­u­la­tion that his ap­point­ment is a ploy to lift the sag­ging for­tunes of Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen’s Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) ahead of next year’s na­tion­wide lo­cal elec­tions, or even to build his own po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal for a much-spec­u­lated run at the pres­i­dency.

Nei­ther is his mis­sion to fur­ther the in­ter­ests of a par­tic­u­lar party fac­tion, the former Tainan mayor said, hit­ting back at me­dia con­jec­ture that he is work­ing solely to ad­vance the DPP’s New Tide fac­tion, of which Ms Tsai is a leader.

“The new cabi­net is nei­ther ‘com­bat­ive’ nor ‘elec­tion-ori­ented’ as some me­dia have called it,” he said. “In­stead, it is down-toearth and prag­matic.”

Mr Lai urged his new cabi­net mem­bers to roll up their sleeves and get to work im­me­di­ately be­cause they do not have the luxury of a “hon­ey­moon pe­riod,” let alone a “trial pe­riod.”

“We must make great strides in deep­en­ing Tai­wan’s re­form and trans­for­ma­tion based on the foun­da­tion es­tab­lished by Premier Lin Chuan,” Lai said, re­fer­ring to his pre­de­ces­sor who sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion over the week­end.

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