TAIPEI - Premier-to-be Mao Chi-kuo will be leading the Cabinet to "turn defeat into victory" with his calm demeanour and courage in the face of challenges, said the Presidential Office yesterday.
Appointed as new premier by President Ma Ying-jeou, Mao is slated to step into office next Monday.
He was chosen to fill in for former Premier Jiang Yi-huah, who had stepped down almost immediately after the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) suffered its historic defeat in last Saturday's elections.
According to the Presidential Office, Mao is familiar with Cabinet affairs, and has ample experience in negotiating with various ministries and departments; it was the smoothest way to keep the Cabinet operating after Jiang stepped down.
The office went on to point out that Mao is efficient and has creativity that allowed him to launch the "Feast in Gourmet Taipei" food exhibition as well as the popular annual Taipei Lantern Festival during his term as the director of the Tourism Bureau.
"Mao also successfully instilled vigour and energy into the historic state-run business Chunghwa Telecom when he stepped in as the company's chairman amid the employees' protests against Chunghwa going private," continued the Presidential Office in a press release.
Chiayi Mayor Denies Rumours of Becoming Vice Premier
After it was confirmed that Mao will be replacing Jiang, both the Cabinet and the Presidential Office held back from announcing the remaining members of the new Cabinet, despite Mao's earlier statement that he has asked the majority of original members to stay.
Local media has been running reports of the next vice premier candidate, rumored to be incumbent Chiayi Mayor Huang Min-hui, also one of the KMT's vice chairmen.
Huang quickly denied the allegations yesterday, stressing that the premier-to-be has not called her nor asked for her opinion on the matter.
Huang also refused to comment on hypothetical questions, including the media's queries on whether she is willing to step in as Mao's successor, or as the minister of culture.
"Taiwan needs an improved energy, and it needs people to support the government. Allow the government to serve the people, for its intentions are kind," said Huang.
Mao Is Not Expected to 'do things the old way'
Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said yesterday that he hopes Mao has a bigger heart, and that he is not expected to "do things the old way."
"As long as he thinks the results are acceptable, he can propose all the beneficiary policies he likes; I believe both the ruling and opposition parties will stand by him," said Wang.
The Legislative Yuan will be doing its best to assist Mao, and will use the remaining year to produce satisfactory results, said Wang.