Xi Jinping named president of China
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Photo: Xi Jinping has been named president of China after a vote at a parliamentary meeting in Beijing. (AFP: Feng Li, file photo)
Xi Jinping has been formally elected as the new president of China.At the end of last year, Mr Xi took over as head of the Communist Party but today he officially became the head of government.
The vote at the annual National People's Congress drew only one "no" vote amongst nearly 3,000 delegates.
"I announce comrade Xi Jinping is selected as president of the People's Republic of China," said Liu Yunshan, a top official of the ruling party who chaired the electoral session at the National People's Congress in Beijing.
After the result was announced Mr Xi, 59, took a bow and shook hands with the man he was replacing, Hu Jintao.
As the son of a revolutionary hero, Mr Xi is seen as already having more authority than his predecessor.
Mr Xi is the son of one of China's most esteemed generals and known as a "princeling", the name given to relations of China's first generation of Communist leaders, who grew up immersed in the ruling party's upper echelons.
But analysts are divided on whether this might make it more or less likely that he will instigate crucial reforms while in office.
Mr Xi formally takes the reins of the world's second-largest economy with Li Keqiang, who is due to be anointed as premier on Friday, marking the final step in the nation's once-in-a-decade power handover.
Since he took the top Communist post in November, Mr Xi has pledged to preserve the ruling party's supremacy, as well as improve livelihoods, implement economic reforms, and crack down on corruption.
Officially, Mr Xi is being elected for a five-year term, but barring extraordinary events he will hold the position for a decade.
"In recent memory there is no comparable figure who has such power in his hand [so quickly]," said Willy Lam, a politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Li Yuanchao, a member of the Communist Party's Politburo but not among its top seven-member standing committee and a figure seen as having reformist leanings, was selected as vice-president, Mr Liu said.
China's vice-presidency is a largely symbolic post, although it does carry a diplomatic role.