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William Lai appointed premier

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- After months of rumor about his appointment as premier, Tainan Mayor William Lai was officially named for the post by President Tsai Ing-wen Tuesday.

The announcement was made by Tsai at a press conference at the Presidential Office. Lai will take over Lin Chuan - both of whom were present at the event — as the head of the Executive Yuan on Thursday.

Tsai counted the accomplishments of the outgoing premier and praised him as a man of character who is willing to sacrifice for reform.

Lin, relaxed and smiling, said he felt he was attending his own "graduation ceremony". He thanked Lai for accepting "this heavy burden".

Lin said he started convincing the Tainan mayor to take his job as early as June. Local media reported in July that Lai would replace Lin on early Sept. The Executive Yuan and the Presidential Office refuted the reports as groundless rumors at the time and stressed that there had been no plans for Cabinet reshuffle.

In contrast to Lin's ease, the premier-appointee appeared guarded at the announcement event. He said that running the government is like running in a relay race and vowed to take the baton from Lin and complete his unfinished major policies.

The president has listed seven missions for Lai, including speeding up the transition of Taiwan's industrial structure, effectively executing the Forward-Looking Infrastructure Development projects, enhancing labor safety and welfare, implementing the nuclear-free policy, etc.

In an open letter to the staff at Tainan City government, Lai bid farewell to his "dear partners" and thanked them for their support and their hard work for the city in the past seven years

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