Guangdong governor Huang Huahua pledged to lead the province to new heights after being re-elected as the provincial leader yesterday, ending weeks of speculation that he might step down.
Sources said, however, that Mr Huang's re-election was likely to be a temporary measure because he was set to be replaced after the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in March.
They said Beijing was keen on ensuring stability at all levels of government before the important meeting.
Mr Huang, flanked by his vice-governors at the Guangdong People's Congress, pledged that the people of Guangdong would share the fruits of reforms carried out in the province.
He described the province as being at a 'critical juncture', but also at a 'new starting point' of development. 'We feel the huge responsibility and the heavy loads that we shoulder, yet at the same time we also have the confidence and power to lead Guangdong,' he said.
While pledging to push ahead with development, Mr Huang also promised the government would accept monitoring by the provincial people's congress and was willing to listen to deputies' opinions when formulating policies.
Speculation had been rife in the lead-up to the congress election that Mr Huang would be replaced. The names of possible replacements floated included Guangzhou party boss Zhu Xiaodan , one of Guangdong's three alternate members of the Communist Party's Central Committee, Shenzhen party secretary Liu Yupu and Guangdong Organisation Department head Hu Zejun .
As expected, Guangdong executive vice-governor Tang Bingquan , 58, who was elected as a vice-chairman of the Guangdong provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on Sunday, bowed out of the provincial vice- governorship alongside Xie Qianghua and Zhong Yangsheng . Both Mr Xie and Mr Zhong were elected as vice-chairmen of the Guangdong People's Congress.
It is not known who will replace Mr Tang as the province's point man on co-operation with Hong Kong. He had been in charge of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Joint Co-operation Conference since 2003.
Ou Guangyuan , the new congress chairman who replaced Huang Liman , vowed to enhance the congress' standards and improve checks on government policies.
Mr Huang, 62, who was elected governor in March 2003 - a few months after the Sars outbreak in the province - received 755 votes at the Guangdong People's Congress, with 14 opposing his re-election and nine abstentions.
The election also returned seven vice-governors - down from the previous nine - including one new face, Jieyang party boss Wan Qingliang , who at 43 is the youngest member of the new provincial leadership.
The election is also set to spark a new wave of reshuffles at the city government level and in a few provincial bureaus.
Mr Wan's promotion creates a vacancy in Jieyang, while Zhuhai party secretary Deng Weilong, Qingyuan party secretary Chen Yongzhi and Yangjiang party secretary Chen Xiaochuan were elected vice-chairmen of the Guangdong People's Congress.
Among the bureaus affected are those overseeing labour, construction, and economic and trade affairs. Provincial labour chief Fang Chaogui , construction chief Lao Yingxun and Chen Bing , director of the Guangdong Economic and Trade Commission, were among bureau heads elected members of the Guangdong People's Congress Standing Committee.
The congress also elected Zheng E as the Guangdong Higher People's Court president and Zheng Hong as the chief of the province's procuratorate.
The Guangdong People's Congress closes today.
Fourteen Guangdong People's Congress deputies opposed Huang Huahua's re-election
The number of deputies who voted in favour of the governor: 755