Xi Jinping looks set for a third term as president as China’s rubber-stamp legislature meets on Sunday

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is set to emerge as president for a norm-breaking third term at the end of the country’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress, which convened on Sunday for eight days of choreographed sessions Is.

The formal NPC, and China’s top advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which opened on Saturday, are meeting against a backdrop of a slowing economy and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The NPC’s roughly 3,000 members will also put their stamp of approval on a new line-up of top government officials, to be led by Li Qiang, Xi’s confidant and former Shanghai premier for the next five years.

Delegates would also confirm government titles for other officials such as vice premiers and heads of various ministries: decisions would have already been taken in the run-up to the “two sessions” – as the meetings are known – and the 20th Communist Party. Congress (CPC), was held in October last year.

According to the official new agency, Xinhua, “On the Reform of Party and State Institutions, the meeting to recommend a list of proposed candidates for key positions of state institutions for the first session of the 14th NPC will also implement plans.” is defined.” , and a list of proposed candidates for the leadership of the CPPCC National Committee to be recommended for the first session of the 14th CPPCC National Committee.”

The NPC will discuss a plan to reform institutions under the State Council, or cabinet, and review draft amendments to the Legislative Law, new NPC spokesman Wang Chao said at a press conference at the Great Hall of the People on Saturday.

Wang said it would also review a number of reports, including the work report of the outgoing premier — outgoing premier Li Keqiang.

China’s economic outlook for 2023, as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, will be a key area of ​​focus and global interest.

“We expect Beijing to set this year’s GDP growth target at ‘around 5.5%’, which is similar to last year and close to our 2023 GDP growth forecast of 5.3%,” brokerage Nomura said. Amid the ongoing growth recovery, the official target of fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio may be set at 2.8% this year, unchanged from last year, it said in a report on Friday.

China is also likely to announce its defense budget as part of the work report on Sunday.

“China’s defense spending as a share of GDP has been basically stable for many years. It is lower than the world average and the increase is fair and reasonable,” Wang said at the press conference without sharing details.

Wang said China needed to increase its defense spending to face “complex security challenges” and “fulfill its responsibility as a major country”.

“China always firmly opposes long-standing jurisdictions that misuse the extra-territorial application of domestic law to suppress foreign entities and individuals,” said, adding that “China’s core interests must not be undermined.” Its sovereignty and territorial integrity should not be violated”.

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