BEIJING -- Chinese lawmakers gathered here Wednesday morning to elect a presidium and set the agenda for the legislative session slated to start Thursday.
The parliamentary session is expected to yield further measures to stimulate economy and combat crisis as the impact of the worldwide financial downturn further unfolds.
Deputies take their seats during the preliminary session before China's parliamentary session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 4, 2009. [Agencies]
A 171-member presidium and secretary-general were elected to take charge of the procedures of the Second Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), which is scheduled to last nine days.
The new presidium is composed of senior officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC), non-Communist parties, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, personages without party affiliation, people of government agencies and people's organizations, leading members of all the 35 delegations to the NPC session including those from Hong Kong and Macao and the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
Wang Zhaoguo was elected secretary-general of the NPC session.
Former Party chief of the Ministry of Health Gao Qiang was also elected to the presidium following his appointment as vice chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Committee and director of the NPC Standing Committee's Budgetary Affairs Commission on Saturday.
Gao replaced his predecessor Zhu Zhigang, who was expelled in December after being accused of breaking the law and was under investigation for helping his close relatives buy property at discounted prices.
Wu Bangguo, chairman of China's National People's Congress (NPC), addresses the preliminary session before China's parliamentary session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 4, 2009. [Agencies]
According to the agenda adopted at a preparatory meeting, the NPC deputies will hear and deliberate the government work report, reports of the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and vote on the plan of national economic and social development and the central budget for 2009.
A total of 2,985 NPC deputies are expected to attend the annual full session of the national legislature at the Great Hall of the People.
The presidium also held its first meeting on Wednesday.