With just three of the nearly 300 delegates voting against, Li Keqiang has been elected as China’s new prime minister.
He replaces Wen Jiabao, and for the next 10 years will be responsible for the day-to-day guiding of government policy, and overseeing the economy.
Analysts say he has a close relationship with reform-minded economists, and counts many pro-democracy activists among friends he made when a student, some of whom are now outspoken critics of the communist party, or in exile.
On the streets of Beijing, people are aware of the tasks ahead for the new PM.
“I hope China’s new leadership, including the president and the premier, govern our country well after they take office. Ordinary people can have a wealthier lives, afford to buy apartments and make much more progress every day,” said one man.
“I think China now is facing a tough situation domestically and internationally. Here we are still facing many problems in spheres such as property prices, medicine, pensions and the economic transition. Overseas we have the Diaoyu Island dispute, North Korea, and pressure from the US. This all needs to be resolved soon,” said another.
One key task for the next decade will be boosting the middle class and narrowing the gap between China’s super-wealthy elite and the rest of its people.