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16 Mar 2008 08:08
China’s Parliament re-elected Wen Jiabao as premier on Sunday, but a next-generation leader was passed over for promotion to a top military job.
The rubber-stamp National People’s Congress gave Wen, ranked third in the Communist Party hierarchy, a second five-year mandate with 2,926 votes for, 21 against and 12 abstentions.
People’s Liberation Army Generals Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong were elected vice-chairpersons of the decision-making Central Military Commission.
A Hong Kong newspaper had said next-generation leader Xi Jinping would become the third vice-chairperson of the military commission, but he was not on the ballot on Sunday.
If Xi, who was elected vice-president on Saturday, had been given the military portfolio, it would have cemented his role as heir apparent to President Hu Jintao, who doubles as Communist Party and military chief.
Parliament also endorsed the nominations of Wang Shengjun as the country’s top judge and Cao Jianming as the top prosecutor.
On Monday, Parliament is expected to endorse the nominations of five vice-premiers, four state councillors and various Cabinet ministers.
Li Keqiang, a Hu ally, is tipped to become number one vice-premier with an eye on taking over from Wen as premier in 2013.
New vice-premiers will include Wang Qishan, who as Beijing mayor steered the capital through the Sars crisis in 2003, Zhang Dejiang, former party boss of the booming southern province of Guangdong, and Liu Yandong, the lone woman vice-premier.
Hui Liangyu will remain vice-premier in charge of agriculture.
There will be at least four state councillors, a post outranking a Cabinet minister but below a vice-premier.
State councillors will include foreign policy tsar Dai Bingguo, Liang Guanglie who will be named Defence Minister, Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu and outgoing top economic planner Ma Kai, sources with leadership ties told Reuters. - Reuters
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