Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Xi gets second term with powerful ally Wang as VP

A poster for the film ‘Amazing China’ at a cinema hall in China. – AFP A poster for the film ‘Amazing China’ at a cinema hall in China. – AFP
Glenn Montgomery | 18 March, 2018, 02:15

Legislators beamed when talking about Xi - a stark contrast from the criticism that Chinese people expressed online when term limits were lifted last week, prompting censors into action.

Delegates applaud as a screen displays the final vote tally for Xi Jinping on Saturday in Beijing.

The campaign, which also targeted dissent within the party, sidelined major rivals to Mr. Xi and was thus instrumental to his consolidation of power.

During his time as top graft-buster, Wang pushed China's campaign against corruption and violation of the Party's code of conduct, which has seen the downfall of both high-level officials and grassroots ones.

Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping (習近平) was re-elected as president of China with a unanimous vote, while his former anti-corruption tsar Wang Qishan (王岐山) is the new vice president.

All 2,970 votes were cast in favor of the 64-year-old Xi who, after a vote by the legislature last Sunday, gained the right to continue in office indefinitely after term limits for the president and vice president were abolished.

"Xi will be chairman of everything", said Ether Yin, a partner at the advisory firm Trivium China in Beijing.

Mr Xi was also voted chairman of the Central Military Commission, receiving the full measure of 2,970 votes. The largely ceremonial role of vice president is second in succession and can carry out duties delegated by the chief executive.

While Xi's reappointment was assumed, there had been some speculation about Wang. He also has an extensive network of influential global contacts and forged enduring ties with major Wall Street figures such as Hank Paulson.

Wang retired from the Politburo of the Communist Party past year at the party's customary retirement age of 68.

In another first, Xi and Wang took the oath of office by pledging allegiance to the constitution. "Xi will be relying on a collection of personal advisers to run the country and make decisions". Still, Xi's new power might provide reassurance to investors who believe that bureaucratic resistance has slowed his reform agenda. Still, centralized control by one man could become a problem should his health fail or subordinates fail to question bad decisions from the top.

An "amazing" economist, he could now form a "dream team" with another member of the party leadership, Wang Yang, to deal with concerns that US President Donald Trump policies will trigger a trade war, Brown said.

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