China’s parliament backs Xi Jinping for third term as president

Xi has sidelined potential challengers and filled the party’s top ranks with his supporters since taking power in 2012.

Xi Jinping has secured a precedent-breaking third five-year term as China’s president, a largely ceremonial role, putting him on track to remain in power for the rest of his life.

The nearly 3,000 members of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s largely ceremonial parliament, voted unanimously for Xi after the constitution was changed to remove the traditional two-term limit for the post.

There were reportedly no other candidates for the position although the process is shrouded in secrecy.

The NPC, whose members are appointed by the ruling Communist party, cast 2,952 votes for Xi over about an hour. No one voted against him.

Xi also secured unanimous backing for a third term as chairman of the country’s Central Military Commission.

Since taking power in 2012, 69-year-old Xi has sidelined any potential challengers and filled the party with his supporters, turning himself into China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

He had himself named for a third five-year term as party general secretary in October, breaking with a tradition under which Chinese leaders handed over power once a decade.

In other NPC votes, Han Zheng was chosen as the new vice president and Zhao Leji as the new parliament chair. Both men were from Xi’s previous team of party leaders at the Politburo Standing Committee.

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