China’s Xi Jinping awarded third five-year presidential term

Chinese leader Xi Jinping was awarded a third five-year term as president on Friday, putting him on track to remain in power for life. The endorsement of Xi’s appointment by the formal National People’s Congress was a foregone conclusion for a leader who has sidelined potential rivals and filled the ruling Communist Party’s top ranks with supporters since taking power in 2012.

The vote for Xi was 2,952 to 0 by the NPC, whose members are appointed by the ruling party.

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Xi, 69, nominated himself in October for a third five-year term as party general secretary, breaking a tradition whereby Chinese leaders hand over power once a decade. The two-term limit on the presidency had previously been removed from the Chinese constitution, suggesting that he could remain in power for life.

No candidate list was distributed and Xi and the others were believed to have gone unopposed. For the most part, the election process remains shrouded in secrecy.

Xi was also unanimously named commander of the 2 million-member People’s Liberation Army, which apparently takes its orders from the party rather than the country.

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