China’s parliament voted to repeal presidential term limits, allowing President Xi Jinping to keep power indefinitely in a formal break from succession rules set up after Mao Zedong’s turbulent rule.
All but five of the almost 3,000 National People’s Congress deputies present Sunday supported the measure to strike a constitutional provision barring the president from serving more than two consecutive terms. The amendment -- announced by the Communist Party two weeks ago -- removes the only barrier keeping Xi, 64, from staying on after his expected second term ends in 2023.
The vote -- never in doubt -- gives Xi more time to enact plans to centralize party control, increase global clout and curb financial and environmental risks. It also ties the world’s most populous country more closely to the fate of a single man than at any point since reformer Deng Xiaoping began establishing a system for peaceful power transitions in the aftermath of Mao’s death.
Before Sunday’s vote in Beijing, U.S. President Donald Trump had joked that Xi was “now president for life.” The NPC could appoint Xi to a second term as soon as Saturday.
“In the long run, the change may bring some uncertainties, like ‘key man’ risk,” Yanmei Xie, a China policy analyst for Gavekel Dragonomics in Beijing, said before the vote. “Dissenting is becoming riskier. The room for debate is becoming narrower. The risk of a policy mistake could become higher and correcting a flawed policy could take longer.”Read More...