New State Council unveiled
Updated: 2013-03-17 07:16
By Zhao Huanxin, Xin Dingding and Shan juan (China Daily)
A brand-new lineup of leaders will take the country forward amid challenges and work to keep the economy growing at a rate of 7 to 8 percent annually.
Lawmakers gathered in Beijing for a 13-day meeting have formally endorsed the members of the State Council, China's Cabinet. Nearly 3,000 legislators voted in nominations by Premier Li Keqiang, endorsing Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang and Ma Kai as his deputies, and another five, including a veteran diplomat, as state councilors.
They also approved the premier's candidates for ministers, the governor of the central bank and the auditor-general at the annual national legislative session, which will end its almost two-week conference on Sunday.
This new lineup will steer the world's second-largest economy forward on progress that is more efficient, innovation-driven and reliant on consumption, as the country's growth rate slides and decades of development at breakneck speed leave a trail of problems including pollution and a growing income gap, analysts said.
They are expected to realize the promises of the Cabinet restructuring and governmental function transformation plan unveiled last Sunday. The plan aims to reduce bureaucracy for a more efficient government in the world's most populous country.
Of the 25 State Council ministries two fewer than before according to the overhaul plan, nine get new ministers, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the brand new National Health and Family Planning Commission.
New ministers were also approved for the Ministry of National Defense, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Supervision, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Land and Resources, and the Ministry of Commerce.
Outgoing foreign minister Yang Jiechi was promoted to state councilor in charge of foreign policies, and succeeded by Wang Yi, China's ambassador to Japan from 2004 to 2007.
Xu Shaoshi, minister of land and resources since 2007, takes charge of the influential National Development and Reform Commission, replacing Zhang Ping, who was elected vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress two days ago.
The new top economic planner told reporters on Saturday that his new post gave him "great responsibility and heavy pressure".