China’s president, Xi Jinping, is now certain to hold the position for the rest of his life after winning a record-breaking third five-year term in the largely ceremonial position.
Following a modification to the constitution that eliminated the conventional two-term restriction for the position, all roughly 3,000 members of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s primarily ceremonial parliament, voted in favour of Xi.
In a symbolic vote held Friday in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, China’s rubber-stamp legislature extended Xi’s term as president for another five years. The ceremony was a carefully staged piece of political theatre intended to show the legitimacy and cohesion of the ruling class. A standing ovation was given to him after receiving 2,952 absolute votes.
Because he is both the Central Military Commission’s Chairman and the Communist Party’s General Secretary, Mr Xi has significant power.
It had been widely anticipated that his third term as president would be confirmed. It is seen as more crucial to name a new premier and several ministries in the next few days.
All of the new hires are anticipated to be Xi Jinping supporters. This also applies to Li Qiang, who is expected to succeed Mr Xi as his deputy.
As China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, 69-year-old Xi has suppressed any prospective rivals and surrounded the party with his allies since assuming office in 2012.
In October, he appointed himself to a third five-year term as party general secretary, contrasting with Chinese custom that called for the transfer of power every ten years.
Yet, his reelection as president officially accomplishes his transition into a second decade in power.
This week’s “Two Sessions” of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC) are carefully followed because they offer a preview of the direction China may take in the years to come.
Chinese presidents had been barred from serving more than two terms since Mao Zedong. In 2018, Mr Xi abolished this restriction, making him a figure with a reach unseen since Chairman Mao.