05/14/2007, 00.00
TAIWAN
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Ex-negotiator with Beijing becomes new premier

The president replaced Su Tseng-chang, who was defeated in the presidential primary of the Democratic Progressive Party, with Chang Chun-hsiung, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation and a leading peace negotiator between the island and Beijing. This move completes appointments made before the presidential election in 2008.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The government of Taiwan has chosen its new prime minister: Chang Chun-hsiung, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation and a leading peace negotiator between the island and Beijing. He will replace Su Tseng-chang, who yesterday announced he would step down.

The decision was taken by the President, Democrat Chen Shui-bian, who opted to replace Su after the latter’s defeat in the presidential primary of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Local sources said Chang was chosen partly because “no one else wanted to be premier when the presidential election is only a year away.” The post, in fact, brings with it a series of largely negative political consequences for the image of the person filling it, and a year “is too little time to make a difference”.

This appointment has formally completed the island’s political pre-election scenario. Both the Democrats as well as the nationalists have decided on their candidates, respectively Frank Hsieh Chang-ting and Ma Ying-jeou. They will be “led” in the electoral campaign by the new premier, who among other things is entrusted with the task of guaranteeing that the election slated for 2008 will be properly managed.

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