Xi Jinping awarded third term as China president after unanimous people’s congress vote
China leader Xi Jinping was awarded a third five-year term as the nation’s president , putting him on track to stay in power for life.
The endorsement of Xi’s appointment by the ceremonial National People’s Congress was inevitable for a leader who has sidelined potential rivals and filled the top ranks of the ruling Communist Party with supporters since taking power in 2012.
The vote for Xi was 2,952 to 0 by the NPC, members of which are appointed by the ruling party.
Xi, 69, had himself named to 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.
A two-term limit on the figurehead presidency was deleted from the Chinese constitution earlier, prompting suggestions he might stay in power for life.
Xi was also unanimously named commander of the 2 million-member People’s Liberation Army, a force that explicitly takes its orders from the party rather than the country.
Xi’s new term and the appointment of loyalists to top posts underscores his near-total monopoly on Chinese political power, eliminating any potential opposition to his hyper-nationalistic agenda of building China into the top political, military and economic rival to the United States.
While six others serve with him on the Politburo Standing Committee, all have longstanding ties to Xi and can be counted on to see to his will on issues from party discipline to economic management.
The congress is also expected to pass a measures intensifying party control over national level government organs as part of Xi’s campaign of centralising power under the party.
At the opening of the annual congress session on Sunday, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang announced plans for a consumer-led revival of the struggling economy, setting this year’s growth target at “around 5%.” Last year’s growth in the world’s second-largest economy fell to 3%, the second-weakest level since at least the 1970s.