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Asia-Pacific
Taiwan PM quits over typhoon ire
Liu Chao-shiuan steps down amid heavy criticism over slow response to typhoon.
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2009 18:52 GMT
Wu Den-yih has been named to replace Liu [AFP]

Taiwan's prime minister has resigned following criticism over his handling of last month's Morakot typhoon, which left an estimated 670 people dead.

Liu Chao-shiuan's resignation on Monday is set to be followed by that of the entire cabinet within the next few days.

Liu said he was leaving office because his cabinet had completed the initial stage of rehabilitation work after the storm hit the island on August 8.

"I have completed my duties at this phase," said Liu, who has held his post since Ma Ying-jeou, the president, took office in May 2008.

'Difficult task'

"I'm the top administrator and all of the political responsibility rests on my shoulders, so I offered my resignation to the president, and he agreed," Liu told a news conference.

In depth

 Typhoons: Asia's mega-storms
 In pictures: Morakot's destructive path
In video:
 Mudslide buries Taiwan town
 Thousands missing in Taiwan typhoon
 Typhoon Morakot hits southern China

Wu Den-yih, 61, the secretary general of the Nationalist Party, has been named by the president to replace Liu.

Wu's nomination does not require parliamentary approval, and he is expected to name a new cabinet in a few days after discussing the nominees with the president.

"We will unite and strive with our best efforts to shoulder the difficult task ahead," Wu said.

Wu is a veteran parliamentarian who previously served eight years as mayor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest city.

Paul Chiu, Taiwan's low-profile vice-premier, also resigned on Monday.

'No fallout'

Chu Li-lun, a county magistrate, was named to replace him, the president's office said.
   
Morakot caused massive landslides that wiped out whole sections of villages in the island's southern mountains.

While public anger over the handling of the disaster has been the toughest test for Ma since he became president, analysts said they expected no major fallout.
   
Daniel Soh, an economist at Forecast Limited in Singapore, said: "Taiwan is politically similar to South Korea where real power sits with the president.

"There is unlikely to be much political instability as a result of the premier's resignation."

The cabinet has earmarked $3bn for reconstruction work and will build 1,000 homes for the storm survivors with the help of a charity group and electronics maker, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, said Ma.

Source:
Agencies
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