Taiwan's Premier Resigns in Aftermath of Storm

Taiwan's premier resigned over criticism of the government's response to Typhoon Morakot, which slammed into the island last month. Liu Chao-shiuan said Monday that his Cabinet also was resigning en masse, according to the semi-official Central News Agency.

Wu Den-yih, the secretary general of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, has been tapped to succeed Liu. Wu said a new Cabinet will be organized by Thursday, CNA reported.

Liu came under fire for reacting slowly after Morakot. The storm triggered mudslides that wiped out villages in mountainous regions of southern Taiwan. At least 543 people are known to have died in the storm, according to Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center. Hundreds are still feared missing, CNN reports.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou sacrificed his premier in a surprise ouster designed to contain anger at the government’s mishandling of a deadly typhoon and accusations its sole focus is improving ties with China.

“Ma is now in damage control,” said Lo Chih-cheng, a professor at Soochow University in Taipei. “The only way to get out of trouble is to get rid of his premier,” Bloomberg said.