On the morning of September 5, President Tsai Ing-wen held a press conference at the Presidential Office Building to announce that she had accepted the resignation of Premier Lin Chuan (林全) the previous day, and that his successor will be Tainan City Mayor William Lai (賴清德).
The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
I want to formally announce that I accepted Premier Lin Chuan's resignation yesterday, and that Tainan City Mayor William Lai will be his successor. As both gentlemen are here with us today, there are no communication or handover issues between the outgoing and incoming cabinets, and all of our reform efforts will continue.
After the third session of the current Legislative Yuan had concluded, Premier Lin recommended that I consider a cabinet makeover at an appropriate time to create an administrative team for the next stage.
I told him at the time that I would have to give his recommendation careful consideration, and he has participated throughout that process. With his successor in mind, he insisted on doing everything possible to complete the most difficult tasks during his remaining time in office so that his successor could get off to a strong start.
During our discussions, we exchanged views with Mayor Lai several times, hoping to make a quick and seamless transition between the outgoing and incoming cabinets.
The day before yesterday, Premier Lin formally tendered his resignation. I felt torn because on one hand, it was hard to let go of the camaraderie we've had after working side-by-side for so many years. But I also know how hard he's worked—day and night—since taking on such heavy responsibilities over a year ago. So I respect his wishes, and have accepted his resignation.
Premier Lin is unselfish. He took on the monumental task of policy planning before the presidential campaign so that the Democratic Progressive Party could lead the government again. After the election last year, I asked him to serve as the first premier of my presidency so that those polices would be implemented, and he readily accepted that responsibility.
Given the difficulties inherent in beginnings and the complexity of any reform efforts, even an abundance of ideals and ideas won't automatically get things done after one takes office. I realize that he was under duress throughout the reform process. But he has a high IQ and a high EQ, and one-by-one, he paved the way to implement the policies that people really care about.
Premier Lin is principled and persistent. He doesn't sacrifice long-term policy objectives for short-term gains. He doesn't grandstand. All of his plans set out short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, to be carried out step-by-step.
For more than a year now, Premier Lin's cabinet has pursued the "5+2 industrial innovation program," energy reform, transitional justice, pension reform, the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, and judicial reform. His team has also taken specific issues in my policy agenda—such as social housing, long-term care, childcare, air pollution, anti-drug, and food safety—and transformed them into concrete programs.
Last week Premier Lin made a formal tax reform proposal, and yesterday he called meetings to discuss tax reform and the Company Act. That's been Premier Lin's style during his entire tenure—maximum effort every day. And he'll still be in meetings this afternoon. I believe his efforts will be valuable assets for his successor, and the people of Taiwan will gradually see the results.
I really must thank Premier Lin. I thank him for his willingness to sacrifice for reform, map out implementation plans for the new administration's policies, launch the reform process, and put this administration's values into practice. Premier Lin, you accomplished your three missions, so I'm extremely grateful.
The cabinet is like a relay race. The baton is passed from one person to the next, and each leg is important. Premier Lin's cabinet has basically completed the policy planning, and cabinet personnel layout have stabilized. It's now time for a major push. So today I want to formally introduce Tainan City Mayor William Lai, who will be taking over as premier. I thank him for his willingness to take on this formidable challenge.
I don't need to go into detail about Mayor Lai's academic record or past positions. He started his career as a medical doctor before entering politics, and has always been highly regarded. He was a leading light during his four consecutive terms as a national legislator, and is now a top-flight city mayor. I'm confident he will also be an outstanding premier.
After Premier Lin suggested that I consider a cabinet makeover, we exchanged views on numerous occasions. Moving forward, the main focus of our administrative team will shift from "planning" to "implementation," and Mayor Lai is the perfect candidate to receive the baton.
As both an elected representative and a head of local government, Mayor Lai has always been attuned to public opinion, and responded quickly to society's needs. Over the past few years, everyone has seen his outstanding administrative ability.
I will leave it to the incoming premier to define what kind of cabinet he will have. However, I firmly believe that his forceful leadership will permeate the central government administration. Our reform direction is clear. It now falls to Premier Lai to lead the administrative team, overcome difficulties, and forge ahead.
For the incoming cabinet, I have a few expectations:
First, I want it to accelerate implementation of the "5+2 industrial innovation program." We need to transform the nation's industrial structure.
Second, I want it to efficiently implement the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program. We need to spur investment growth across the board.
Third, I want it to enhance worker safety and benefits, and preserve needed manpower levels and flexibility during the ongoing economic transformation process.
Fourth, I want it to make a concerted effort to implement the plan to transform the energy industry. We need to ensure a stable power supply and make Taiwan a nuclear-free country.
Fifth, I want it to carry through with tax reform, and complete the reform programs already underway.
Sixth, I want it to accelerate implementation of our long-term care and childcare programs. We need to actively respond to the trends toward demographic ageing and a lower birth rate.
And seventh, I want it to enhance the government's overall plan for national development. We need to effectively manage program implementation and budget performance, and reduce fiscal waste.
Premier Lin has already laid the groundwork for these seven tasks. Now, we must rely on the forceful leadership of Mayor Lai, our future premier, to accelerate reforms and foster national development.
And finally, Premier Lin, I want to say "thank you" once again. Thank you for being willing to take on the thankless job of premier during the most difficult period, the beginning of my administration. After you leave your post, I hope you'll have more time to spend with your family, and see that your successor's achievements are built on the foundation that you laid.
But that doesn't mean I'm agreeing to let you leave our administrative team. It's just a change of role. I feel certain that in the future you will continue to lend the team a helping hand.
Mayor Lai, our next premier, has a lot of experience as an elected official and in local administration. I can entrust Mayor Lai with this mission, just as I entrusted Premier Lin, because they both have outstanding character and ability.
I am confident that Premier Lai is well prepared to take the baton and lead our administrative team in a major push to accelerate reforms and transformation. He's going to do an outstanding job, and the people of Taiwan will not be disappointed.
In closing, I want to thank all of you. Let's all give Premier Lin a big round of applause, and cheer on the new cabinet.