Last-minute tussles over personnel will dominate a key party meeting scheduled to open in Beijing today. Party sources said yesterday the leadership was divided over the choice for the position of state vice-president. Leading candidates include outgoing chairman of the National People's Congress Qiao Shi and the former leader of Inner Mongolia, Buhe. A key task of the second plenary session of the Communist Party Central Committee meeting is to finalise the leadership line-up of the Government and the National People's Congress, which starts on March 5. The sources said while the vice-presidency was a largely ceremonial post, Mr Qiao's supporters wanted him to use the position as a new power base from which to influence policy. It is understood President Jiang Zemin, a long-standing foe of Mr Qiao's, wanted a member of the minority peoples to fill the post in order to pacify restive ethnic groups. Other differences within the leadership include what position to give Qiao protege and NPC vice-chairman Tian Jiyun. The sources said Prime Minister Li Peng, who is due to succeed Mr Qiao as NPC chairman, would prefer Mr Tian to move to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. However, many senior parliamentarians want Mr Tian to remain in his position. The plenum, which will be attended by more than 300 Central Committee members and alternate members, will also discuss priorities for economic development, restructuring of the central Government, and the legislative agenda for the Ninth NPC. Diplomatic analysts said there was agreement that the economy should grow by eight per cent this year. But they added that representatives from the regions would lobby the leadership to loosen credit further and give more aid for re-employment schemes. In view of the fall in value of some Asian currencies, Central Committee members from coastal areas would also ask Beijing for extra help to boost exports. The plenum will also decide whether the NPC will table controversial bills such as a new law on securities. A preparatory session for the plenum opened yesterday at the military-run Jingxi Hotel in western Beijing.