Speed Reads

Ceremonial vote

China's Xi Jinping secures unprecedented 3rd term as president

Chinese leader Xi Jinping had his "unprecedented third term as China's president" officially endorsed in a ceremonial vote on Friday, "solidifying his control and making him the longest-serving head of state of Communist China since its founding in 1949," CNN reports. 

The National People's Congress endorsed Xi's reappointment as president for another five years in a ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, which CNN called "a highly choreographed exercise in political theater meant to demonstrate the legitimacy and unity of the ruling elite." Xi received a unanimous 2,952 votes from the NPC, "members of which are appointed by the ruling party," The Associated Press explains. The vote was "largely seen as a formality after the 69-year-old secured a norm-shattering third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party last fall," CNN adds. 

In October, Xi had himself named to a third term as party general secretary, "breaking with a tradition under which Chinese leaders handed over power once a decade," AP writes. In 2018, the two-term limit on the figurehead presidency was removed from the Chinese Constitution, "prompting suggestions he might stay in power for life." In China, the title of president, or "state chairman" in Chinese, is mainly ceremonial. "Real power resides in the positions head of the party and military," CNN says, "two key roles that Xi also holds and was reappointed to at a key Communist Party congress in October." 

Xi's reappointment "comes amid a broader reshuffle of leadership roles in the central government, or the State Council," CNN adds, as well as "other state organizations that further increases Xi's already firm grasp on the levers of power." 

Li Qiang, "one of Xi's most trusted protégés," is expected to be selected as China's premier on Saturday, CNN says. Typically, the premiership is "an influential role in charge of the economy," but "its power has been severely eroded by Xi, who has taken almost all decision-making into his own hands."