The new cabinet of close allies named by President Chen Shui-bian yesterday indicated that with a DPP-dominated force he is gearing up efforts towards running for a second term in 2004, analysts said yesterday. 'There is now a clear demarcation that the Democratic Progressive Party is running the show all by themselves,' said Professor Andrew Yang Nien-dzu, secretary-general of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies. The DPP has blamed the opposition Kuomintang, which controlled the Legislative Yuan until December when the DPP won a landslide election, for often preventing Mr Chen and his cabinet from implementing policies. However, the DPP will be the largest party in the legislature when lawmakers are sworn in on February 1. According to Chang Ling-chen, of the National Taiwan University in Taipei, the President timed the cabinet reshuffle to coincide with the swearing-in of the legislators. Professor Chang said the reshuffle would likely improve the Government's image and boost Mr Chen's popularity. Instead of a major shake-up, continuity appeared to be the main theme of the reshuffle as several incumbents stayed on, including Mainland Affairs Council chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen. New Premier Yu Shyi-kun is considered a close ally of the President and his promotion is seen as a move by Mr Chen to consolidate power. The appointment of the former secretary-general of the Presidential Office, Eugene Chien You-hsin, as foreign minister also indicated that the Foreign Ministry would closely follow Mr Chen's agenda. Professor Yang predicted that Taiwan's defence policy would not see major changes with General Tang Yiau-ming as the new defence minister since the general was part of the present establishment. Mr Chen's new line-up faces two major challenges, namely the island's slowing economy and the cross-strait stalemate. Scholars said the two tasks would be difficult to overcome but unless Mr Chen was able to turn both situations around, it could jeopardise his chances of winning a second term. Meanwhile, a mainland academic said he did not anticipate major changes in Taipei's strategy towards China. 'The crux of relations is policy, not personnel arrangement,' said Shanghai-based Yan Anlin, the deputy head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Yan was referring to Mr Chen's refusal to accept the 'one China' principle, which Beijing insists is a major stumbling block to improved relations.