Li Keqiang Named Premier

The National People’s Congress confirmed Li Keqiang as its new prime minister on Friday, completing China’s a day after naming Xi Jinping state president, as China’s once-a-decade leadership transition nears completion. From Al-Jazeera:

As delegates in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing applauded on Friday, Li stood up, bowed and shook hands with , who was named as China’s new president on Thursday, and his predecessor Wen Jiabao.

Li received 2,940 votes out of 2,949 cast, a 99.69 percent vote share, slightly lower than Xi’s.

“I announce that comrade has been chosen as premier of the People’s Republic of China,” said Yan Junqi, a vice-chairwoman of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament.

Li becomes the country’s first premier with an economics doctorate, according to Bloomberg News, “expertise he may need” as China seeks to restructure a growth model that has begun to stumble. Similarly, The Associated Press repots that China’s new top leaders now face a number of internal challenges:

An increasingly vocal Chinese public is expressing impatience with the government’s unfulfilled promises to curb abuses of power by local officials, better police the food supply and clean up the country’s polluted rivers, air and soil.

“What do ordinary people care about? Food safety, and smog if you are in a big city, and official corruption,” said the prominent Chinese author and social commentator Murong Xuecun, the pen name of author Hao Qun. “They just want to have a peaceful, stable and safe life. To have money and food, and live without worry of being tortured, or having their homes forcefully demolished.”

“The entire country is watching for Xi’s next step,” the writer said.