New Taiwan premier to keep old economics team: senior political source

Su Tseng-chang will keep economics and finance ministers from previous Cabinet, will make changes in other ministries and departments

Outgoing Premier William Lai (L) , and returning Premier Su Tseng-chang (R)

Outgoing Premier William Lai (L) , and returning Premier Su Tseng-chang (R) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Taiwan's new premier, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), will be keeping on the economics and finance team from the previous Cabinet, but will make changes in other ministries and departments, a senior political source said Friday.

According to the source, the new premier's first priority will be to boost Taiwan's economy, and he has asked the four ministers who make up the team if they are willing to stay on their jobs.

Finance Minister Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮), Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), National Development Council chief Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) and Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) have all expressed to Su their desire to continue in their positions, the source said.

Chen said in a statement that Su was her old boss and has promoted her in the past. Former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), whom Su will replace, also wanted her to continue in her post to carry out some of his planned policies, including turning Taiwan bilingual, she said.

In another change, former Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) wrote on Facebook that he has accepted the role of transportation and communications minister.

Lin thanked President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Su for the opportunity to again serve society, his said in a Facebook post.

Like Su, Lin suffered defeat in Taiwan's local elections on Nov. 24, 2018, losing his bid for re-election in Taichung to Kuomintang challenger Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕).

Meanwhile, sources said Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), the Democratic Progressive Party candidate who ran and lost the mayoral race in Kaohsiung last year, is expected to be the new vice premier.

Chen served three terms as a lawmaker and had previously assumed positions such as DPP deputy secretary-general, Cabinet spokesman and deputy secretary-general to the President.

The new Cabinet secretary-general is expected to be former Acting Tainan Mayor Li Meng-yen (李孟諺).

Meanwhile, Science and Technology Minster Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) will take over as education minister, another senior political source said.

The position has been vacant since former Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) tendered his resignation on Dec. 25, 2018 after taking the controversial step of giving the go-ahead to National Taiwan University (NTU) to appoint Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as NTU president.

The government had held back approval for nearly a year, a position that cost the two education ministers who preceded Yeh their jobs.