Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader in decades, has stamped his authority by claiming a third five-year term as Communist Party chief and refusing to name a clear potential successor.
Mr Xi made his first appearance as China’s new seven-strong leadership walked a red-carpet dais inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday following a closed-door conclave of some 370 senior officials who completed membership of the top decision party. making bodies.
The line of the new Politburo Standing Committee, China’s inner sanctum of power, was dominated by Mr. Xi’s allies and protégés, though none of them had the combination of age and experience to mark them as a viable successor.
Mr Xi, 69, was given a third term as general secretary of the party, the government-run Xinhua news agency said, citing the result of the Central Committee vote. Although the party does not set limits on his top political term, Mr. Xi breaks the decade-long cycle established by his predecessor, who served two five-year terms as party chief.
The result cemented Mr Xi’s status as supreme leader despite simmering public resentment over his zero-tolerance Covid policies and handling of China’s sluggish economy. The lack of a clear successor also suggests Mr Xi may seek to extend his rule beyond his third term, which ends in 2027.
Mr Xi is set to become the third longest-serving holder of the party’s top political office. He will succeed only Mao Zedong, who served as party chairman for more than three decades, and Jiang Zemin, who served as general secretary for 13 years, for 2 1/2 terms, and remained chairman of the Central Military Commission of the party for about two years. . Deng Xiaoping, China’s supreme leader from the late 1970s until his death in 1997, never held the position of titular party chief.
Mr Xi is also poised to take a third term as China’s head of state next spring. He made this possible in 2018 when he overturned constitutional limits that prevented the president from serving more than two consecutive five-year terms. The presidency is a largely ceremonial post, with Mr. Xi’s authority stemming primarily from his roles as general secretary and chairman of the military commission.
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