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China's President Re-Elected to Second Term


China's legislature, the National People's Congress, has re-elected Hu Jintao as president of the country, for a second five-year term. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

With great fanfare, the nearly 3,000 deputies of the National People's Congress voted almost unanimously to re-elect Hu Jintao as China's president.

President Hu also serves as the head of the ruling Communist Party. On Saturday, he was re-elected to his third role, as head the Central Military Commission, the body overseeing China's armed forces.

In another significant development, the legislature appointed top Communist Party leader Xi Jinping vice-president. Xi is the son of a revolutionary, and is widely seen as President Hu's heir apparent.

In a sign of Xi's rise to prominence, he has been placed in charge of preparations for the Olympic Games, which will be held in Beijing in August.

Both men ran unopposed. As the results were read out, each man stood and bowed from the dais of the cavernous Great Hall of the People. Neither made a public address.

President Hu and his advisers face tough challenges during his second term. Food costs are soaring and inflation is continuing to climb. Transportation and infrastructure weaknesses were highlighted by the recent snowstorms. And deadly riots in Tibet this week underscore Beijing's lack of progress in defusing unrest among China's minority groups.