Mayor steps down to pursue higher goals
Bo Xilai yesterday finally handed the title of mayor of Dalian to one of his deputies after heading the city government for eight years, Xinhua said.
He was succeeded by Vice-Mayor Li Yongjin.
Mr Bo, son of Communist Party elder Bo Yibo, was appointed Communist Party secretary of Dalian last year.
His promotion ensured he would continue to top the port city's power hierarchy despite stepping down from the municipal government.
Mr Bo's right-hand man of many years, Mr Li was previously in charge of the Guangdong city's foreign trade and economic policies.
Rumours that Mr Bo would leave the city Government had been circulating for years.
But he did not get the job of Shenzhen mayor last April as expected, when Li Zibin left to join the State Development and Planning Commission in Beijing as a vice-minister. Mr Li Zibin's job instead went to Yu Youjun, formerly head of Guangdong's Publicity Department.
It is considered just a matter of time before Mr Bo is promoted to the central Government or a senior party job in Beijing.
Observers said the naming of Mr Li Yongjin as his successor might add new momentum to the process.
It has been predicted that Mr Bo will join the Communist Party's policy-making Politburo at the 16th Party Congress in 2002.
Mr Bo's father, 91, was a close ally of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and is one of the few surviving 'immortals'.