Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 12:24 UK

Taiwan premier quits over typhoon

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan announces his resignation, Monday, Sept. 7, 2009
Mr Liu said he was taking responsibility for the official response to the typhoon

Taiwan's premier Liu Chao-shiuan has resigned, after the government was heavily criticised for its slow response to last month's typhoon.

Mr Liu will be replaced by the ruling party's secretary general, Wu Den-yih.

Mr Liu told reporters that someone had to take political responsibility for the fact that at least 600 people had died as a result of Typhoon Morakot.

Critics blame the heavy casualties on the government's failure to order evacuations before the storm hit.

Other ministers are expected to offer their resignations on Thursday.

Elections loom

Analysts say the change from Mr Liu to Mr Wu is unlikely to cause many major waves, as power on the island largely rests with the president rather than the premier.

"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," Mr Liu told a news conference on Monday.

Ma Ying-jeou's ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) came into power in May 2008, and has since pursued a series of policies that bring it closer to long-time rival China.

But Mr Ma's popularity has been flagging in the wake of the typhoon, and he faces tough local elections in December.

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