China's reformist leader Li Keqiang was today chosen as the new Premier of the world's second largest economy as the Communist giant gears up to revive growth and grapple growing corruption, completing a well choreographed once-in-a-decade leadership change.
With the election of 57-year-old Li, an English-speaking bureaucrat, the country has replaced old guards at all levels in the government.
Li, the Vice Premier in the old administration headed by outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao, was elected by about 3,000 deputies of the National People's Congress, (NPC), known as the rubber stamp Parliament for routinely endorsing the decisions of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
Together with new President Xi Jinping, Li, ranked No 2 in the CPC hierachy, is expected to steer the party and the country for the next ten years just the way outgoing leaders Hu Jintao and Wen did for a decade.
Li's name was proposed by Xi, who is also the General Secretary of the CPC besides the Chief of Military and who succeeded Hu as President yesterday.
Li won 99.7 per cent of the 2,949 votes counted, with just three votes against him and six abstentions, officials said.
Like yesterday's election of Xi, Li's nomination too was foregone conclusion as the he was part of the all powerful seven member Standing Committee of the CPC which was elected in November last year.
However unlike his predecessor, Li is ranked higher in CPC which gives him far more political clout than Wen, 70 who was ranked third in the Party after Wu Bangguo, the outgoing head of the NPC.
Under Xi's leadership, the order is reversed as Premier is ranked higher than the new NPC Chief Zhang Dejiang.
As some one who is closely identified with both economic and administrative reforms in China in the last five years, Li, an economist politician, will have another economist to assist him in the reform process as Xi has chosen Politburo member Li Yuanchao as Vice President.
With Li's election, the CPC has completed it once in a decade leadership, which observes say appeared seemingly smooth belying reports of factional feuds within its ranks.
His election comes at a time when China has slowed down considerably in the last three years contracting from over 11 per cent GDP to 7.8 last year. The government has fixed 7.5 per cent as target this year.
President Xi has been driving an anti-graft campaign ever since he took over as Communist party chief in November.
He has identified fighting corruption as a priority in his first speech as leader and has promised to show no leniency over an issue that he and others have warned could be a threat to the party's rule.
The legislature is also expected to name State Councillors, Cabinet Ministers including new Foreign Minister besides other officials.
Present Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is expected to be elevated as State Councillor succeeding retiring Dai Bingguo, the top diplomat who acted as point-man for India-China bilateral as well as boundary talks.
The NPC which concludes its annual session in two days also endorsed the appointments of top PLA Commanders Gen.
Fan Changlong and Gen Xu Qiliang as vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the top military body headed by Xi.
It has elected a Zhous Qiang new head of Supreme Court and Cao Jianming as Procurator General. This marks the end of four month long power transfer.
But before the new leadership election, CPC had weeded out main challenger Bo Xilai, a hard-line Maoist whose political carrier ended in a dramatic fashion and his wife Gu Kailai was given suspended death sentence for the murder of a British national.The trial of Bo who is imprisoned is expected to begin soon.