Taiwan president-elect Ma Ying-jeou unveils new cabinet

Other News Materials 21 April 2008 11:29 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Taiwan's president-elect Ma Ying-jeou on Monday unveiled his new cabinet, a team of technocrats who shoulder the heavy task of improving ties with China and reviving Taiwan's sagging economy.

Premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan announced the lineup of 17 cabinet members at a news conference.

Chiu Cheng-hsiung, a former finance minister, will become the vice premier. Ou Hung-lien, Taiwan's ambassador to Guatemala, will become the foreign minister, and former vice economics minister Yiin Chii-min will be economics minister.

The ruling party criticized Ma's cabinet as old wine in a new bottle, but Liu insisted that Ma chose old professionals to fill the cabinet posts because there is no time to train inexperienced cabinet members.

"Our aim is to create a clean and professional team. The remaining three posts will be announced before the end of April so that after Ma is sworn in on May 20, the new administration can start functioning at once to turn Ma's election promises into reality," he said.

The three cabinet posts yet to be filled are the defence and education ministers and chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, which sets Taipei's policies towards China.

Ma, from Taiwan's Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT), won a landslide victory in the March 22 presidential election on a platform of seeking peace with China and reviving Taiwan's sagging economy.

But analysts said that after eight years under President Chen Shui-bian's administration, Taiwan's economy is in shambles and it would take Ma's government a long time to revamp it.