Presidential Office rejects reports about Taiwan premier moving to Central Bank

Rumors have Tainan Mayor William Lai taking over as premier in September

Premier Lin Chuan. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Presidential Office on Saturday rejected reports that Tainan City Mayor William Lai (賴清德) might become premier in September, with Premier Lin Chuan (林全) moving to the head of the Central Bank.

Lin, who was sworn in on May 20, 2016, along with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), has been the frequent target of calls for removal, both from the opposition but also from within the ranks of senior government supporters.

The latest theory has the popular mayor of Tainan City, whose second and final term runs out in December next year, leaving early to take the reins of the Cabinet this September.

In this scenario, Lin, 66, who served as finance minister, would not be left empty-handed but move over to become governor of the Central Bank. The current holder of that position, Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南), has collected numerous plaudits during his more than 19 years in office, often winning the accolade of “the best central banker in the world.”

Yet, the Presidential Office responded to the reports of job changes for Lin and Lai that there were no plans for a Cabinet reshuffle, and that the rumors were not really worth commenting on.

A presidential spokesman emphasized the positive work that the Lin team was doing, moving the country forward following years of stagnation or even backpedaling. Other senior politicians said the time was wrong to discuss a Cabinet reshuffle, as the Legislative Yuan still needed time to discuss budget plans for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and for the central government as a whole. The efforts would need the full attention of the premier and his team, so a reshuffle at this stage did not make any sense, commentators said.