BEIJING • The mayor of the major south-western Chinese city of Chongqing has stepped down, the government said yesterday, paving the way for a promotion to a more senior position, possibly alongside Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.
Sources told Reuters earlier this year that mayor Huang Qifan was tipped to replace Yang Jing as secretary-general of the State Council, or Cabinet, making him Mr Li's right-hand man to help tackle a stalling economy.
The secretary-general helps the Premier oversee the entire spectrum of portfolios, from the economy to finance, industry, agriculture, energy, the environment, state planning and technology.
The Chongqing government said in a brief statement it had approved Mr Huang's request to step down, without giving other details or saying where he might go next. It named deputy mayor Zhang Guoqing as Chongqing's acting mayor.
Mr Huang is widely respected as an expert on financial and economic affairs, appearing frequently as a commentator in domestic media.
He is a political survivor, weathering a scandal in 2012 involving his high-flying and flamboyant boss Bo Xilai, who was then Chongqing party secretary and a member of the party's decision-making Politburo. Bo was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for corruption and abuse of power.