Lai's Cabinet resigns en mass ahead of major reshuffle

Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te led his Cabinet in a mass resignation Friday in preparation for a major reshuffle in which he will be replaced.At a provisional Cabinet meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m., Lai announced the en mass resignation, after which all of the Cabinet members signed the official document.Lai, who will be replaced by Su Tseng-chang, shook hands with each of his Cabinet members after the en mass resignation procedure was completed.Addressing the meeting, Lai said he does not regret the efforts he and his team made toward domestic economic development, the improvement of people's welfare, and the strengthening of the nation."Maybe I have not yet seen the growth, blossoming, or fruits of the seeds we planted during my term, but many are budding," Lai said, adding that people will soon see the results of those efforts.The mass resignation of Lai and his Cabinet came one day after the Legislature passed the central government's annual fiscal budget for 2019.Soon after the budget was approved, Lai announced the en mass resignation of his Cabinet and indicated that he would not be returning as premier in the impending reshuffle."The government budget has been passed, and so the time has come for me to leave," he said at Friday's meeting, adding that he expects President Tsai Ing-wen to announce a Cabinet reshuffle soon.Lai said that after Tsai resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairwoman following the Nov. 24 local government elections, he also offered to step down to take responsibility for the DPP's heavy losses as he was the top administrative official in the country.At the time, Lai said, Tsai refused to accept his resignation and he later agreed to stay on in the interest of political stability and continuity.However, the time has now come for him to step down because it is of paramount importance in a democracy to accept political responsibility, Lai said.Shortly after the Cabinet's resignation, Tsai announced that Su will serve as the next premier.Lai was sworn in as premier on Sept. 8, 2017, replacing Lin Chuan as head of the Cabinet. Prior to that, Lai had served as mayor of Tainan from 2010 to 2017 and as a legislator from 1999 to 2010.