TAIPEI, Taiwan - Premier Jiang Yi-huah admitted feeling that the "sky has cleared" at the Cabinet's last meeting yesterday, with 81 Cabinet members resigning in the face of the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT) crushing defeat in Saturday's 9-in-1 Elections.
Jiang's quote came from by Hsiao Chia-chi, the deputy secretary-general of the Executive Yuan.
Having assumed office last February, Jiang recounted the Cabinet's accomplishments over the past 21 months, including proposals that improved the economy, increased youth-employment rates and the amendment of the Income Tax Act, all of which Jiang remarked on as being "successful and important."
"Aside from our achievements, the Cabinet has also faced obstacles and challenges that prompted us to react appropriately and immediately," said Jiang, his list highlighting the death of corporal Hung Chung-chiu, the Legislature's vote of no confidence, the Sunflower Movement and the recent food scandals.
"I believe that when people look back to this time in the course of history, they will give us a fair judgment; as our ancestors said, 'it would be impossible to please everyone, but we strive to stay true to our conscience,'" said Jiang.
The wave of resignations was the Cabinet's indication that it has heard the people's discontent after the KMT only managed to keep six out of 22 municipalities and counties, after retaining power over 15 for the past four years.
"The local elections have certainly expressed the voters' dissatisfaction with the government. Not only do we respect the people's voices, we should also examine closely why we failed to gain approval from the public; the nation will progress only with repeated reflection and improvement," said Jiang.
Before the president appoints a new premier, a caretaker Cabinet will be put in place. "In the caretaker period, I beseech all ministers to guard their positions and take care of all issues that are related to the operation of the nation and the people's welfare; important or controversial policies can wait until the new premier steps into office."
Among the Cabinet ranking officials who resigned, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai was said to have decided she would leave the Cabinet regardless of the election outcome.
Legislature Schedule Affected
Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng announced yesterday that the Legislature will be holding cross-caucus negotiations today in order to determine the parliament's next steps.
Wang declined to comment on rumours of him taking the place of President Ma Ying-jeou as KMT chairman, or as the nation's premier.