Despite embarrassing signs of dissent, China's legislature named Premier Li Peng Monday as its new head, putting a political conservative in charge of one of the nation's most liberal institutions.
The National People's Congress also re-elected Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin as state president. In a departure from tradition, the vice presidency, a ceremonial post usually given to older politicians, was filled by Hu Jintao, 55, the party inner circle's most youthful leader.All three candidates ran unopposed, and with two-thirds of the congress' deputies being party members, the outcome was never in doubt. But the number of votes cast in opposition indicated legislators' displeasure with party leaders and their policies.
Li, unpopular for much of his 10-year tenure as premier, polled 2,616 votes in support and 326 "no" votes or abstentions. The 11 percent opposed was high by the usually docile legislature's staid standards, especially for someone so powerful.
The only candidate for a major post to draw more opposition than Li was Jiang Chunyun, a vice premier seen as an inept, corruption-tainted crony of Jiang Zemin. Legislators approved Jiang Chunyun as a vice chairman of the body.