ZHUHAI'S newly appointed deputy party secretary, Huang Longyun, is expected to take over soon from veteran leader Liang Guangda as the mayor of the Special Economic Zone. Mr Huang, 44, has just assumed his position as No 2 of the Communist Party's Zhuhai Municipal Committee. Sources said the former head of the Guangzhou Economic and Technology Development Zone Management Committee would replace Mr Liang as the Zhuhai mayor. But the confirmation of his position as government chief will have to await official approval by the Special Economic Zone's legislature when it next meets, probably early next year, sources said. Mr Huang has wide experience in management and has served as party secretary of Guangzhou Iron and Steel Plant, secretary of the committee of enterprise work under the party's Guangzhou Municipal Committee and chairman of the city's Federation of Trade Unions. One source said Mr Liang had confirmed in private he would leave his government position soon. The source added he might be replaced by the end of the year. The future of the veteran regional leader is yet to be decided, but it is expected he will remain as the party secretary for some time, the source said. Mr Liang, 60, has been the mayor and party secretary of Zhuhai since 1986. Speculation over his removal from his Zhuhai domain has been rife for some time due to his age and health problems. The rules governing his position require that he retire by 60. Another source dismissed rumours Mr Liang was being blamed for his poor performance in developing the zone's economy. 'If he hadn't done a good job, he would have been removed from the position much earlier,' the source said. Despite that, Mr Liang has been tipped to be a candidate to succeed Zhu Senlin, 65, as the Guangdong governor. Early this month, Mr Liang called for co-ordinated economic planning among cities in the Pearl River delta as he pledged his support for a regional economic zone. He warned against scrambling for supremacy, unhealthy competition and wasting the region's resources.