Premier Jiang Yi-huah rebuffed rumors about an impending Cabinet shuffle Monday and said a replacement for Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta would be named within a month. The media have been buzzing with reports that the Cabinet could undergo an overhaul after the 9-in-1 elections in late November, but Jiang denied that any such plans exist, saying the make-up of the Cabinet had nothing to do with elections.
On Friday the Executive Yuan announced that Chiu was stepping down and would be temporarily replaced by Deputy Minister Lin Tsou-yan. On Tuesday, DPP Legislator Huang Wei-che asked Premier Jiang Yi-huah whether the administration planned to put off naming a permanent replacement until the November elections are past or even after the end of the current Legislative Yuan session when a wholesale makeover of the Cabinet might be carried out.
Jiang said there is also no connection between naming a new head of MOHW, a Cabinet shuffle and the November elections. He said finding a substitute for Chiu is a relatively simple matter and the Executive Yuan is working to find a suitable candidate as quickly as possible. Jiang stressed that he would consult the ministry soon regarding the matter of naming a successor and said it should be finished within a week to a month’s time.
Jiang said he had not imposed any conditions on the ministry as to how a successor to Chiu should be selected. The search will be carried out on the basis of merit, he said, seeking the best person for the position whether it be someone from the medical community, the public health sector or possibly social welfare. Jiang added that sometimes an unlikely figure may suddenly pop up, someone who had never been under consideration but turned out to be the best candidate for the job.