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China Clears Way For President Xi To Rule For Life

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China Clears Way For President Xi To Rule For Life

China's parliament on Sunday overwhelmingly okayed a controversial change to the country's constitution, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.

Inside Beijing's Great Hall of the People, nearly 3,000 delegates to the National People's Congress (NPC) cast their ballots on a series of proposed amendments – including removing the restriction that had limited the presidency to two consecutive five-year terms, according to CNN.

Out of 2,964 ballots, just two delegates voted against the move and three abstained, suggesting minimal opposition to Xi's push to rule for life. The amendments' passage required two thirds of the vote.

The ruling Communist Party announced the proposals on February 25 and, amid a backlash in some quarters, has justified the change as a necessity to align the presidency with Xi's two other, more powerful, posts – heads of the party and the military – that have no term limits.

China had imposed a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s.

But Xi, who would have been due to step down in 2023, defied the tradition of presenting a potential successor during October's Communist Party Congress, reports the BBC.

Instead, he consolidated his political power as the party voted to enshrine his name and political ideology in the party's constitution – elevating his status to the level of its founder, Chairman Mao.

On paper, the congress is the most powerful legislative body in China – similar to the parliament in other nations. But it was widely believed to be nothing more than a rubber stamp.

It is now hard to see Xi Jinping being challenged in any way whatsoever.

He has amassed power the likes of which has not been seen since Chairman Mao Zedong.

Only five years ago Beijing was being ruled by a collective leadership. Under ex-President Hu Jintao you could imagine differing views being expressed in the then nine-member Politburo Standing Committee.

There was a feeling that Hu needed to please various factions within the Communist Party and it seemed that every 10 years a new leader would come along with their own people in a process of smooth transition.

From today all that is history, the BBC says.

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