China’s Xi appoints close ally Li Qiang as new premier

Beijing, Mar 11 (EFE).- China’s President Xi Jinping appointed Li Qiang, the second highest official of the Communist Party of China, as the country’s new premier on Saturday.

Xi, who was re-elected as president for a precedent-breaking third term on Friday, signed the order to appoint Li during the ongoing annual meeting of the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, held in the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square.

Li, formerly the CPC’s chief of China’s financial capital, Shanghai, will face the difficult task of laying the foundations for the recovery of the world’s second largest economy.

Born in 1959, Li will replace Li Keqiang, who steps down after spending ten years in Xi’s shadow.

Li, who is a close ally of Xi, will have the mission of reactivating the economy and strengthening the country’s self-reliance in science and technology, a response to Washington’s ban on the sale of US-manufactured chips to Chinese companies.

The legislature also approved the appointment of Zhang Youxia and He Weidong as vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and that of Zhang Jun as president of the Supreme People’s Court, the country’s top court.

These appointments were made a day after Xi consolidated his absolute power with an unprecedented third five-year presidential term.

In 2018, the NPC had approved a constitutional amendment scrapping the two-term limit on the presidency thereby paving the way for Xi’s re-election.

At Friday’s plenary session, the the lawmakers also approved the appointment of Han Zheng as the country’s vice president and Zhao Leji as chairman of the 14th National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

Wang Huning, another of Xi’s close allies, was also appointed chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s highest political advisory body.

Xi was also elected the chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, a position equivalent to being the head of the armed forces, on Friday.

In October last year, Xi was re-elected as general secretary of the Communist Party of China for a record third term. EFE


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