Taiwan appoints new premier to boost popularity after election trouncing

FILE PHOTO - Su Tseng-chang of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gives a speech during a news conference in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2012. REUTERS/Yi-Ting Chung/File Picture

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan has appointed Su Tseng-chang as premier, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday, as she moved to shore up support after the defeat of her pro-independence party in local elections last year.

November's election trouncing presents a major challenge to Tsai, who faced mounting domestic criticism over her reform agenda while facing renewed threats from China, which considers the self-ruled island its own.

Su is a former premier appointed in 2006 by then President Chen Shui-bian, and was a chairman of Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party for two terms. His appointment follows the widely-expected resignation of William Lai, the second premier to quit since Tsai took office in 2016.

With the next presidential election just a year away, analysts say Tsai and Su must build support for the government's cross-strait policy and further boost the export-reliant economy in a challenging year, amid the Sino-U.S. trade spat.

(Reporting by Jess Macy Yu and Yimou Lee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)