China's parliament today appointed Xi Jinping as the nation's new president.

The new leader will face a public increasingly seeking change in a time when calls are mounting for a bold approach to tackle faltering economic growth, unbridled corruption and a severely befouled environment that endanger his Communist Party's legitimacy.

Xi was elevated to the presidency by the rubber-stamp national legislature, giving him the last of the three titles held by his predecessor, Hu Jintao.

The final steps in the transition unfold over the next two days with the expected anointing of Li Keqiang, the party's No. 2, as premier on Friday

There was near unanimous approval from the almost 3000 delegates attending China's National People's Congress appointing Xi Jinping as president. He is already head of the China Communist Party and the nation's military.

On the streets of Chinese cities there are increasing demands for leadership on corruption and on a governing class that's become rich in a nominally socialist system.

President Xi will also face the challenges of faltering economic growth and environmental damage, highlighted this week by the discovery of around 6,000 dead pigs dumped in a river that much of Shanghai gets its drinking water from.

China's leader has gained recognition already for urging austerity by public officials in their festivities, after revelations of expense-account abuses.

But analysts say he'll need to tread a fine line between tackling wealthy senior officials and making enemies of them.

Meanwhile, the parliament approved some restructuring of China's ministries. Among the changes, the agency that promotes abortion and sterilisation in pursuit of China's one-child policy will now merge with the health ministry.

For Vatican Radio, AW in Tokyo