Taiwan's economics minister was removed from his position Sunday by the cabinet, in line with his wishes as he took responsibility for deadly gas explosions in the south-western city of Kaohsiung last month, state-run Central News Agency (CNA) reported, according to dpa.
Thirty people died in the July 31 blasts in pipelines that supply industrial zones. The Economics Ministry is responsible for the operation of those zones, which had prompted calls for the ouster of Chang Chia-juch from residents and opposition members.
Although Premier Jiang Yi-huah had resisted the minister's insistence that Chang be held responsible and step down, CNA reported Sunday that Jiang had finally acquiesced to Chang's stance.
According to cabinet spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun, Jiang's approval was made after repeated statements from Chang saying he was reluctant to return to his office post.
Chang submitted his resignation late Thursday, saying he was prepared to 'shoulder the blame' for any political instability caused by the blasts.
President Ma Ying-jeou respected Chang's decision and recognized Chang's contributions during his 18 months in office, presidential office spokeswoman Ma Wei-kuo said Sunday.
Jiang appointed Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Woody Duh as acting minister. Sun said interviews for prospective permanent replacements would start 'soon.'