Premier Lai Ching-te’s remarks following resignation of Cabinet

  • Date: 2019-01-11
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

The following is a translation of the main points of the premier’s remarks.

Vice Premier Shih, ministers without portfolio, ministry chiefs, and all colleagues here at the Executive Yuan, greetings:

When I resolved to come to Taipei and assumed the premiership on September 8, 2017, I encouraged my team that we must be a Cabinet of pragmatic action. In the almost 500 days since, we have held countless meetings to decide important policies—not only to solve the everyday problems of the people and implement the seven key tasks assigned by President Tsai Ing-wen—but also to proactively promote national development. We even took the unprecedented step of setting out from the Executive Yuan to visit all 22 cities and counties in the country, where we engaged in discussions with the local governments. We listened to each describe the state of implementation of long-term care 2.0 and the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, as well as all manner of impediments to local development. We met with industry representatives to hear about and understand the problems they face with growth. We confronted every problem, formulated practical policies in response, and then tackled each issue with realistic solutions. Of course, together we had to deal with a number of disasters, like last year’s February 6 earthquake in Hualien, the August 23 flooding in the south, and the October 21 derailment of the Puyuma Express in eastern Taiwan.

During our days together, we faced grinding difficulties and painful burdens, but we also shared smiles and joyful times. We experienced losses along with gains, but we have neither grudges nor regrets. We worked as a team to build the nation, develop the economy, bring prosperity to the people, and strengthen Taiwan. During our time in office, we may have not been able to reap the harvests of all the seeds we’ve sewn, but many have begun to sprout, and others are about to blossom. I’m confident that in time, the people of Taiwan will come to see the fruits of our common labor.

On November 24 last year, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party sustained heavy losses in the nine-in-one local government elections. As leader of the nation’s highest administrative organ, I felt compelled to step down to shoulder responsibility for the party’s defeat. I tendered my resignation verbally to President Tsai that night but was asked to stay on. And on reconsideration, I felt it best to remain to oversee post-referendum work and ensure that our budgets and bills moved through the Legislature without interruption. I did resolve, however, that I would depart when the right time came.

In the somewhat over a month since, the Executive Yuan has soldiered on. We’ve instituted a raft of preventive measures against African swine fever, and released the 2019 National Development Plan. We’ve submitted to the Legislature a new economic immigration bill as well as an action plan to bring Taiwanese businesses back home. We’ve made revisions to the Statute for Industrial Innovation, and drafted a fundamental bill on culture for the Legislature’s review. A legislative package to combat fake news has also been forwarded to the Legislature. Finally, we’ve launched national plans to promote regional revitalization, make Taiwan a bilingual nation, and create a service-oriented smart government.

Yesterday, our annual fiscal budget was approved by the Legislature, and so the moment for my departure has arrived. It is time for me to take political responsibility. Democratic governance is responsible governance, and accepting responsibility is a principle of the highest order. I have obtained the president’s consent, therefore, to lead my Cabinet in resigning en masse today. The bright side of a mass resignation is the hope that the next governing team will battle with more vigor to meet the people’s expectations and win the public’s support. Our resignation will also allow the president to do away with the old and carve out a new path for the nation.

I am grateful to President Tsai for giving me this incredible opportunity to serve this land and its people, and I thank the members of the public for their support. May Heaven bless Taiwan and the people of Taiwan. Thank you, everyone!