Xi Jinping begins precedent-busting third term as China’s president
Following a consolidation of power that has made Xi Jinping China’s most dominant leader in generations, the 69-year-old on Friday secured an unprecedented third term as president from the country’s largely rubber-stamp parliament.
The functions of the president are largely ceremonial in the Chinese system of governance. Xi gains his power from a couple of prominent posts he was handed at a party congress last October. The Chinese leader is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
Scores of people had expected the confirmation of Xi’s third term as president. The naming of a new premier and a number of ministers in the upcoming days is considered much more crucial. The new appointees are mostly expected to be the leader’s loyalists.
Whether a strengthened Xi and increasing centralisation is sufficient to overcome certain problems, such as slowly simmering tensions between Beijing and Washington, and a falling birth rate threatening China’s economic growth engine, is unknown, Ian Chong, a political scientist at the National University Singapore, told the BBC.
China’s annual ‘two sessions’ meeting this week is closely watched as it offers a glimpse into the country’s direction in the coming years. At the event, both the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) hold their annual meetings separately, but at the same time.
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