Xi Jinping, leader of China’s Communist Party, has been named president of the world’s most populous country after a vote at its parliamentary meeting in Beijing.
His elevation to the presidency on Thursday gives him the last of the three titles held by his predecessor, Hu Jintao.
“Now I announce comrade Xi Jinping is selected as president of the People’s Republic of China,” Liu Yunshan, a top official of the ruling party, who chaired the electoral session at the National People’s Congress, said.
Delegates to the National People’s Congress, meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, voted 2952-to-1, with three abstentions, in balloting that amounts to a political ritual echoing the party leadership’s decisions.
The move was expected after Xi was named head of the Communist Party and chairman of its military, positions of true power, last November in a once-a-decade handover to a new group of leaders that has been years in the making.
Xi’s party leadership is his real source of power but the title of head of state will increase his public role, such as on overseas trips.
Since he took its top post in November Xi has pledged to preserve the ruling party’s supremacy, as well as vowing to improve livelihoods, implement economic reforms and crack down on corruption, which incenses the public.
Officially he is being elected for a five-year term, but barring extraordinary events or death the 59-year-old will hold the position for a decade.
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.