BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 3,000 lawmakers elected the new leadership of China's top legislature through secret ballots at a plenary meeting on Thursday.
Zhang Dejiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was elected chairman of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), replacing Wu Bangguo.
After the announcement of his election, Zhang stood up and bowed to the deputies, and then shook hands with Wu. The election was held at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
Born in northeast China's Liaoning Province in November 1946, Zhang studied economics at Kim Il Sung University in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 1978 to 1980.
He served as Party secretary of the CPC Jilin provincial committee, Zhejiang provincial committee and Guangdong provincial committee successively before he became vice premier in 2008. From March to November 2012, he also served as Party secretary of CPC Chongqing municipal committee.
Zhang was elected a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in November last year.
Assuming his new role as China's top legislator, Zhang will be assisted by 13 newly-elected vice chairpersons, namely Li Jianguo, Wang Shengjun, Chen Changzhi, Yan Junqi, Wang Chen, Shen Yueyue, Ji Bingxuan, Zhang Ping, Qiangba Puncog, Arken Imirbaki, Wan Exiang, Zhang Baowen and Chen Zhu.
Wang Chen was also elected secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee.
After the elections, a younger generation born after the founding of New China joined the top legislature leadership and take the center stage, including 56-year-old Shen Yueyue, the youngest vice chairperson.
The new NPC leadership lineup is made up of experienced ministers, well-trained CPC officials, regional leaders and heads of democratic parties who have shown their leadership capabilities in their previous positions.
According to the election results, CPC members take up eight of the 13-seat vice chairmanship of the top legislature, namely Li Jianguo, Wang Shengjun, Wang Chen, Shen Yueyue, Ji Bingxuan, Zhang Ping, Qiangba Puncog and Arken Imirbaki, while leaders of non-CPC parties take the remaining five seats.
The number of CPC member vice-chairpersons of the top legislature remains the same as for the 11th NPC Standing Committee.
Yan and Shen are the only two female vice chairpersons.
Qiangba Puncog and Arken Imirbaki are vice chairpersons from the country's ethnic minority groups, a tradition that has been followed since the very beginning of the top legislature over the years.