People’s congress elects xi jinping as president of china

People's Congress elects xi jinping as president of china

Four months after the generation change in the chinese communist party, the new "strongman" has xi jinping also takes over as president. The 59-year-old now leads not only the world's largest party and most powerful fighting force, but also the most populous nation in the world. At its annual meeting in beijing, the people's congress on thursday voted in favor of the scion of one of china's most influential families. He succeeds 69-year-old hu jintao, who retires after ten years in office.

In the vote for xi jinping, there was only one dissenting vote and three abstentions among the nearly 3,000 delegates in the great hall of the people. The new leader then made no speech to the billion-strong nation, but instead phoned russia's president, vladimir putin, who called to offer his congratulations. The call shows the importance putin attaches to relations with china, xi jinping thanked him in the phone call. His first foreign trip as president will take the new chinese leader to moscow this month.

New vice president li yuanchao suffers electoral defeat. He had to accept 80 votes against and 37 abstentions. The 61-year-old head of the communist party's organizational department had come under fire for the scandals leading up to this first leadership change in ten years. He is seen as a protege of the outgoing hu jintao, but does not sit on the seven-headed standing committee of the political bureau, the most powerful decision-making body in china.

The former vice premier zhang dejiang became the new head of parliament. It received only five votes against and four abstentions. The 66-year-old had made a name for himself by cleaning up the scandal surrounding the overthrown top politician bo xilai in his home city of chongqing. He was also appointed to the new standing committee of the politburo. The graduate of kim il sung university in north korea is considered an adherent of the state economy.

Roughest reshuffle of government in 15 years
By the conclusion of its two-week annual meeting on sunday, the people's congress, which has not been cleared of elections, will also rubber-stamp the long-negotiated behind-the-scenes rejuvenation of the government. On friday, 57-year-old li keqiang is to become the new prime minister, taking over from 70-year-old wen jiabao. The historic baton change was overshadowed by power struggles. Since taking office as party leader and commander-in-chief in november, xi jinping has tried to rally the various factions and interest groups, as well as the military, behind him.

The delegates also approved the biggest reshuffle of the government in 15 years. The number of ministries is reduced from 27 to 25. After corruption scandals, powerful rail ministry to be broken up into commercial and administrative arms to be taken over by transport ministry. The food and drug safety oversight, which has been fragmented among several agencies and criticized as patchy, will also be unified to become more effective.

Chinese experts and foreign business representatives, however, complained that the new government did not go far enough. Particularly criticized for not organizing more efficiently the management of business and industry.