Li Qiang, close to President Xi, will be the new Prime Minister of China


China’s parliament on Saturday confirmed the appointment of Li Qiang, a close aide of President Xi Jinping, as the country’s new prime minister. He will replace Li Keqiang, who held the post of premier of the world’s second largest economy for the last 10 years.

Li Qiang’s candidacy was ratified at the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC). President Xi himself proposed his name. Li Qiang, 63, who is said to be a pro-business leader among those close to Xi, will be the second-in-command of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and government. Earlier, Xi’s unprecedented third term as President was sealed on Friday.

Xi, 69, is the only leader since party founder Mao Tse-tung to have more than two five-year terms and is expected to remain in office for life. Li Qiang, who worked with Xi at the provincial level, was party chief in Shanghai, China’s biggest modern business hub.

His lockdown imposed last year to prevent the spread of Kovid-19 cases was sharply criticized. It is expected that Li Qiang will encourage the private sector in the second largest economy as well as increase foreign investment. Outgoing Premier Li Keqiang has proposed a five per cent growth rate for the economy this year, the slowest in decades.


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