March 15, 2013 - 10:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - China's leaders have named Li Keqiang premier, placing him at the helm of the world's second-largest economy, BBC News reported.
Li, who already holds the number two spot in the Communist Party, takes over from Wen Jiabao. Li was elected for a five-year term but, like his predecessor, would be expected to spend a decade in office.
On Thursday, March 14, Xi Jinping was confirmed by legislators as the new president, completing the transition of power from Hu Jintao.
Li Keqiang's widely-signaled elevation was confirmed by 3,000 legislators at the National People's Congress, the annual parliament session, in Beijing. He received 2,940 votes to three, with six abstentions.
As premier, he will oversee a large portfolio of domestic affairs, managing economic challenges, environmental woes and China's urbanization drive.
The appointments seal the shift from one generation of leaders to the next. A raft of vice-premiers and state councilors will be named on Saturday, before the NPC closes on Sunday.
Li, 57, who is seen as close to outgoing leader Hu Jintao, speaks fluent English and has a PhD in economics. He has called for a more streamlined government, eliminating some ministries while boosting the size of others.
The son of a local official in Anhui province, he became China's youngest provincial governor when he was tasked to run Henan. But his time there was marked by a scandal involving the spread of HIV through contaminated blood.
Li is expected to end the NPC with a press conference on Sunday, given by Wen Jiabao for the past decade.