Li jolted

The usually totally predictable workings of the Chinese parliament, the National People's Congress, stuttered yesterday when a surprising number of delegates failed to support the re-election of Li Peng as Prime Minister, Teresa Poole reports from Peking. But the result was a foregone conclusion, with Mr Li capturing 2,573 votes of the 2,909 cast; as with all the top positions, his was the only name on the ballot slip.

However, in the secret ballot, some 210 delegates voted against him and another 120 abstained. Taking into account the 68 delegates who did not bother to attend the voting session, this means that more than 13 per cent of the delegates did not cast a vote for him.