Taiwan appoints ruling party’s former chairman as new premier

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Taiwan President-elect Lai Ching-te appointed Cho Jung-tai, a former chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to be his premier on Wednesday, with appointments for other roles such as foreign minister due to be announced soon.

The new premier and his cabinet will not assume their roles until Lai is inaugurated on May 20.

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Under Taiwan’s system of government, the president appoints the premier, who then appoints cabinet members with final approval from the president. It is the cabinet which enacts policy and proposes legislation.

Cho told reporters that he will announce his other cabinet members soon, adding that he will reach across party lines.

“I hope this active, innovative...cabinet, will as in the past uphold the spirit of a great democratic alliance, using people based on their talents without distinction to party affiliations and proactively training a younger generation,” he said.

Taiwan media has reported that National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo, a lawyer by training, would likely take over as defence minister from Chiu Kuo-cheng, a former army commander.

Current Foreign Minister Joseph Wu will likely succeed Koo as head of the National Security Council, the media reported.

The National Security Bureau’s Director-General Tsai Ming-yen, who had previously served as Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the European Union, will stay on as head of the intelligence agency, the reports added.

Lai, currently vice president, won the presidential election in January, but the DPP lost its majority in parliament.

Taiwan’s main opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT) took the most seats, but not enough to form a parliamentary majority on their own. The other seats were won by the small Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), led by former Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je.

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