China Has Officially Eliminated Presidential Term Limits

Marie Harrington
March 12, 2018

China's parliament on Sunday reversed a 35-year-old rule limiting the tenure of a president to two five-year terms and paved the way for Xi Jinping to continue in power indefinitely, putting the 64-year-old President in the same league of Mao Zedong, founder of Communist China.

Since taking office more than five years ago, Mr. Xi - the son of one of the CCP's founding fathers - has managed a radical shake-up of the party and spearheaded an anti-corruption campaign that has taken down top leaders once thought untouchable.

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. This includes a system of collective leadership and regular, orderly transitions of power that became the norm after Deng died in 1997.

"Xi Jinping has presided over so many important projects such as economic reforms and the fight against corruption". "Dissenting is becoming riskier".

Xi's move was widely speculated as his desire to cling to power beyond 10 years, but little was anticipated of the proposal in this regard that came like a bolt from the blue last month. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has declined 1% since then, compared with a 1.9% decline in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index.

"I will definitely support this constitutional amendment and this government".

In addition to removing the term limits, the new constitution paves the way for the establishment of a new anti-graft super agency, the National Supervisory Commission. The amendment vote required a two-thirds majority to pass.

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The leaders of the CPC are lobbying hard with the delegates to ensure a resounding vote for changes in China's basic law.

Still, the proposal to repeal term limits prompted unusually open expressions of dissent.

"He just dug a huge hole for himself", said Li Datong, a former editor of the state-run China Youth Daily newspaper and one of the few voices of open opposition. If the next Communist Party congress in 2022 effectively abolishes the customary retirement age of 68 for senior officials, Xi could rule the party and state into the mid-2030s, when he would be well into his 80s.

The Communist Party says the move merely aligns the presidency with the limit-free titles of party secretary and military chief, claiming "the masses" unanimously called for the removal of term limits.

"The amendment generates a level of uncertainty", Rafferty said before the vote.

A review of four main amendments to Chinese Constitution leads us to conclude that consolidation of power is key to reading m, not only by eliminating limits to presidential mandates but also because y elevate rank Constitutional a much more ambitious view of China's role in world as well as a more centralized territorial model.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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