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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 05:07 GMT
Taiwan president appoints new PM
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (left) with new PM Su Tsheng-chang
President Chen (l) praised Mr Su for his dedication to Taiwan
Taiwan's president has chosen his former chief of staff to replace Prime Minister Frank Hsieh, who has resigned after less than a year in the post.

Su Tseng-chang is a former human rights lawyer and co-founder of the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

Announcing the appointment, President Chen Shui-bian said he had confidence in Mr Su's "wisdom and integrity".

Frank Hsieh resigned on Tuesday, accepting blame for the DPP's recent defeat in local government elections.

"I thank the president for giving me this opportunity and I am ready to meet the challenges," Su Tseng-chang said after his nomination to the post.

"I hope we will all work together to make Taiwan better."

Seeking approval

Mr Su is a popular politician who has held a string of key administrative positions.

He won election as magistrate of Pingtun county in 1989 and a seat in the legislature in 1995, before returning as magistrate in Taipei county in 1997.

Supporters of Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) celebrate, 3 December 2005
The opposition celebrated a local election triumph in December
He is widely known as the "light bulb", in reference to his bald head.

Correspondents say Mr Chen's decision to appoint Mr Su as prime minister is an attempt to boost his domestic support ahead of the next presidential election in 2008.

As well as losing ground to the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party in the local elections in December, the DPP has also been accused of corruption, and has been ignored by the Chinese leadership, which has instead invited senior KMT figures to Beijing.

The two main parties in Taiwan have different strategies towards mainland China.

The DPP advocates a separate Taiwan identity, while the KMT and its allies oppose Taiwan independence and favour closer ties with Beijing.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province which should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Taiwanese Premier Hsieh resigns
17 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's top party picks new boss
15 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan opposition wins key poll
03 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan opposition leader sworn in
19 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Taiwan
22 Sep 05 |  Country profiles


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