China’s Xi Jinping is set to take over as President for a historic third term today

China is expected to hand Xi Jinping a third term as president when nearly 3,000 members of its rubber-stamp legislature vote on Friday, completing his ascension as the supreme leader of the world’s No. 2 economy. Went.

Xi is likely to easily win the National People’s Congress, which will back him to serve five more years, demonstrating his unrivaled grip on the ruling Communist Party. He took all 2,970 ballots cast in 2018, the same year China abolished constitutional provisions that would have prevented him from seeking a third term.

The annual legislative assembly is expected to reappoint Xi as chairman of the Central Military Commission, a post that makes him head of the world’s largest armed forces in terms of active personnel. The NPC will install its own leader, likely former anti-corruption chief Zhao Lejie, who is already the party’s No. 3 official.

A vice president will also be voted into office, filling the role previously held by Wang Qishan.

The vote is largely procedural, as Xi secures his position atop the party that dominates politics in China at a major congress in the fall. He used that event to pack top party positions with his allies, while pushing out potential rivals for power.

Read also: China’s Xi Jinping says better use of defense resources is needed to ‘win the war’

The maneuver effectively rejected the collective leadership approach that China had used since its reform and opening-up experiment in the late 1970s, raising concerns among investors and others that Xi would lose his No checks on power would be faced, or questions about policy. Hu Chunhua, a former top contender to someday lead China, was ousted entirely from the party’s 24-member Politburo.

Xi used the annual NPC gathering this year to push for government reforms he hopes will better compete in the increasingly bitter rivalry with the US. On Tuesday, China unveiled plans to strengthen oversight of its $60 trillion financial system, create a new agency for data management and restructure the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The aim was to “better allocate resources to deal with challenges in key and core technologies and move faster toward greater self-reliance in science and technology,” Xinhua news agency said.

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