One of President Xi Jinping’s most trusted allies, Li Qiang, has been elected as prime minister of China on Saturday. He takes over the post from Li Keqiang.
Li Qiang, who is a former party secretary in Shanghai, was already appointed second in connection with the Communist Party Congress in October. It was therefore expected that he would be elected prime minister at the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Saturday.
Li, 63, received almost all the votes among the delegates after President Xi formally nominated him for the post earlier in the day. 2936 voted for Li, three voted against and eight abstained.
Shortly after the vote, Li was sworn in as the new prime minister.
Unlike former Chinese prime ministers, Li has no experience working at a central government level.
Li Qiang began his career as an employee at a water pumping station near his hometown. He then steadily rose through the ranks of the local government. In 2012 he was promoted to a top post in the wealthy province of Zhejiang.
In the early 2000s, he worked as Xi’s chief of staff when Jinping was party chief in Zhejiang. Li was then appointed party secretary in Shanghai in 2017.
The endorsement of Li Qiang comes a day after Xi Jinping was elected president for the third time.