China's new VP Wang Qishan could be problematic for CPC

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In another first, Xi and Wang took the oath of office by pledging allegiance to the constitution.

China's rubber-stamp parliament unanimously handed President Xi Jinping a second term Saturday and elevated his right-hand man to the vice presidency, giving him a strong ally to consolidate power and handle USA trade threats.

Xi's status as China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong was on full display during the carefully choreographed ceremony in Beijing - it was only when the president took the oath that all members of the legislature stood, and his was the only oath accompanied by the military band's drums.

Wang's appointment to the vice-presidency allows Xi to retain a trusted surrogate with connections to the United States diplomatic and financial communities.

China's capital was engulfed in a rare flurry of swirling snow on Saturday, sending delegates of the congress scurrying from the Great Hall of the People after the vote.

He is in the frontline of Xi's anti-corruption campaign, which netted 1.5 million officials from lower-cadre to regional leaders and generals in the past five years.

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Xi's reappointment was approved by all 2,970 members of the NPC in attendance, while there was only one vote against Wang's appointment.

The constitution states that the vice president can "assist" the president in his work and act on his behalf to carry out presidential duties. He also has an extensive network of influential global contacts and forged enduring ties with major Wall Street figures such as Hank Paulson.

Mr Qishan, 69, was previously the secretary of the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's utmost disciplinary watchdog on corruption.

Wang retired from the Politburo of the Communist Party a year ago at the party's customary retirement age of 68. Several minister-level appointments were scheduled for Monday, including a replacement for retiring central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan and the head of a new agency to regulate the country's $43-trillion finance-and-insurance sector.

The changes leave Xi with sole responsibility for China's $12-trillion economy, mounting debt pile, more aspirational middle class and growing overseas interests.

Xi's new power might provide reassurance to investors who believe that bureaucratic resistance has slowed his reform agenda. Among Mr. Wang's priorities will be helping Mr. Xi manage the critical but increasingly fraught relationship with the USA, people familiar with the matter have said.

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