Taiwan's premier resigned on Monday amid strong criticism of the government's slow response to the most devastating storm to hit the island in 50 years, and the president immediately named a senior official from the ruling party to replace him.
Liu Chao-shiuan said he was leaving office because his Cabinet had completed the initial stage of rehabilitation work after Typhoon Morakot slammed into the island August 8-9 and left an estimated 670 people dead.
"I have completed my duties at this phase," said Liu, who has held his post since Ma Ying-jeou became president in May 2008.
Liu's move sets the stage for the entire Cabinet to resign. Liu said that would happen Thursday.
Ma named Nationalist Party Secretary General Wu Den-yih, 61, to replace Liu.
Wu is a veteran lawmaker with a reputation as a skilled political manoeuvrer. He previously served eight years as mayor of Kaohsiung -- Taiwan's second largest city -- and before that was chief executive of Nantou county, also in the south of the island.
Wu said he will name new Cabinet members in a few days after discussing the lineup with Ma. "We will unite and strive with our best efforts to shoulder the difficult task ahead," he told reporters.
Another former lawmaker Chu Li-lun, 48, was named by Ma as vice-premier. Chu has served as chief executive of Taoyuan county in suburban Taipei since 2001.