Taiwan vice president has back surgery for herniated discs

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Taiwan's Vice President William Lai arrives to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Honduras' President-elect Xiomara Castro, at the Enrique Soto Cano Military Air Base, in Comayagua, Honduras January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

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TAIPEI, June 26 (Reuters) - Taiwan Vice President William Lai had surgery for herniated discs on his spine on Sunday after complaining of acute lower back pain, which went successfully and he is expected to be out of bed and walking by the evening, the presidential office said.

Office spokesman Xavier Chang said in a statement the hour-long surgery took place at a Taipei hospital in the early afternoon, with the operation going "very smoothly".

Lai will remain in hospital for observation, Chang added.

A former premier, Lai has been President Tsai Ing-wen's deputy since 2020, when Tsai won her second and final term in office.

Lai is a leading contender to be the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate for the next election due in 2024.

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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