Taiwan premier resigns over economy

2013-02-01 11:00
Taiwanese Premier Sean Chen at a press conference in Taipei. (Mandy Cheng, AFP)

Taiwanese Premier Sean Chen at a press conference in Taipei. (Mandy Cheng, AFP)

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Taipei - Taiwanese Premier Sean Chen said on Friday he has stepped down for health reasons, after the cabinet he heads came under fire for its poor handling of the economy.

"I have some health problems ... and I need to completely change my life and work style to reverse the situation," the 63-year-old finance expert told a press conference to announce his resignation.

"I believe that the economy will improve in the coming year. We have worked very hard on the planning for long-term issues and I hope everybody will continue to support the new team."

Deputy premier Jiang Yi-huah, aged 53, a scholar-turned-politician and a former interior minister, will take over his job, Chen said.

Chen's departure came as Taiwan's economy grew 1.25% in 2012 from a year ago at the slowest pace in three years due to shrinking exports.

Chen, who previously headed the Financial Supervisory Commission, the main industry regulator, had a tense term since taking office as premier in early 2012.

His cabinet frequently came under attacks over the sluggish economy and other controversial policies, with the opposition repeatedly demanding his resignation.

Last year, Chen survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote - only the second in Taiwan's history - over what opposition lawmakers deemed as his cabinet's failure to curb rising unemployment and inflation.

Under Taiwan's political system the premier heads the cabinet and is appointed by the president.

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