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Politics

Taiwan's cabinet to resign, as Premier Lai eyes presidency

DPP heavyweight Su Tseng-chang expected to lead new team

Premier William Lai may win the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's nomination for next year's presidential election.

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's entire cabinet is expected to step down as early as Thursday in line with the resignation of Premier William Lai to take responsibility for the ruling party's crushing defeat in November elections.

The Liberty Times, a newspaper supportive of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, reported Monday that all ministers are expected to resign after the legislature passes the government's fiscal 2019 budget.

Lai, who leads the cabinet and is emerging as a potential rival to President Tsai Ing-wen in the 2020 presidential race, is expected to be replaced by Su Tseng-chang, a DPP political heavyweight and former premier.

Chen Chi-mai, a former legislator defeated in the Kaohsiung mayor's race by Han Kuo-yu, a member of the pro-China opposition party Kuomintang, is likely to be named Su's deputy.

After the DPP's overwhelming defeat to the Kuomintang in November, Tsai stepped down as party chair.

Still, Tsai is keen to be re-elected president in the January 2020 election, but her approval rating has fallen to just over 20%. Many are hopeful that the DPP will field Lai as its candidate, in light of his popularity both in and outside the party.

Lai had repeatedly sought to step down to take political responsibility for the electoral defeat. But Tsai asked him to stay on. With Lai quitting against the president's wishes, the rivalry between the two is only expected to intensify.

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