President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced on Friday that Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) will replace William Lai (賴清德) as Premier and lead Taiwan’s new Cabinet.

Su, 71, served as Premier from 2006 to 2007 under then-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). His appointment as Premier had been anticipated for weeks before being confirmed by Tsai today.

Earlier today, the Cabinet resigned en masse in a meeting held at 9:30 a.m., in which all members of Taiwan’s cabinet, helmed by Lai, signed an official document confirming their respective departures.


Credit: Reuters / Fabian Hamacher

Su Tseng-chang (R) was named Premier today in a major Cabinet reshuffle.

Tsai Ing-wen, speaking at a press conference after the mass resignation, said Su’s experience and ability will enable him to serve well as Premier once again, according to CNA.

Tsai said Taiwan faced a host of challenges, including the threat of Chinese incursion on Taiwanese democracy, and reiterated her rejection of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s proposal of a “one country, two systems” framework for Taiwan.

Speaking at the press conference, Su said now is a crucial moment for Taiwan and expressed his appreciation for the leadership of Lai, the outgoing Premier.

Su paid homage to former UK prime minister Winston Churchill, referencing his famous quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

“The situation is difficult and the task is tough,” Su said.

Su, popular among core DPP supporters, takes office as Taiwan faces poor cross-Strait relations with China and the effects of the U.S.-China trade war. Internally, Tsai has struggled to quell factionalism within her own party ahead of a 2020 presidential election sure to be hotly contested.

Lai made his long-anticipated departure as Premier to take responsibility for major losses by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the November 2018 regional elections, which saw the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) sweep to power in several municipalities including the longtime DPP stronghold of Kaohsiung.

Speaking at a press conference to announce his resignation, Lai said he held no regrets for his efforts as Premier to improve public welfare and strengthen Taiwan.

“Maybe I have not yet seen the growth, blossoming, or fruits of the seeds we planted during my term, but many are budding,” he said in his outgoing remarks.

Lai said earlier that he expects Tsai to announce a full Cabinet reshuffle soon.

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