Xi Jinping secures unprecedented third term as China’s president
Xi Jinping secured a precedent-breaking third five-year presidential term on Friday, March 10, during a parliamentary session in which he further tightened his control as China faces mounting challenges at home and globally.
Officially, Xj Jinping was endorsed by the country’s political elite on Friday. This solidified his control and made him the longest-serving head of state Communist China since its founding of 1949.
Nearly 3,000 members of China’s Parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), voted unanimously at the Great Hall of the People in favor of the 69-year old Xi in an election in which there was no other candidate.
Xi has led China in a more authoritarian manner since he assumed control a decade back. Friday’s vote will extend his term for 5 years. This comes amid growing tensions with the US and the West about Taiwan, Beijing’s support of Russia, trade, and human rights.
Xi set the stage for another term when he kicked out presidential term limits in 2018, and has become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, who founded the People’s Republic.
China’s presidency is largely ceremonial, and Xi’s main position of power was extended last October when he was reconfirmed for five more years as general secretary of the central committee of the Communist Party.
During Friday’s voting, Xi chatted casually with premier-in-waiting Li Qiang, who was seated to his left and is poised to be confirmed on Saturday to China’s No.2 position.
The annual parliamentary session, the first since China dropped three years of COVID restrictions, will end on Monday, when Xi will give a speech that will be followed by a media question-and-answer session by Li.