Chinese president starts second term with no clear successor
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/25/17, 12:18 pm
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday kicked off his second five-year term without a clear plan for a successor. At the end of the past week’s National Congress of the Communist Party, Xi appointed five new members to the Politburo Standing Committee, the country’s leadership committee responsible for deliberating on major policy issues. Traditionally, presidents only serve for two terms, and the seven-member standing committee includes a clear successor. The 64-year-old president, who first took power in 2012, served for five years on the Standing Committee before he became president. But the new appointees are all in their 60s and unlikely to take over from Xi at the end of his second term in 2022. “It suggests that Xi will likely serve a third term and that he is likely to name his own successor,” said Joseph Fewsmith, an expert in Chinese politics at Boston University. “We have not seen that for two decades.” In a 21-minute address to mark the start of his second term, Xi promised to spearhead the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” The past week has seen his grasp on power increase. Earlier on Tuesday, the Chinese Congress voted to include Xi’s name and ideology in the Chinese Constitution. Only the party’s founder, Mao Zedong, received a similar honor while still in office.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.