Xi Gets 3rd Term in 2,952-0 Vote

The outcome was never in doubt
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2023 4:07 AM CST
Xi Officially Awarded 3rd Term After 2,952-0 Vote
Delegates hold voting papers as they prepare to elect state leaders during a session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, March 10, 2023.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping was awarded a third five-year term as the nation's president Friday, putting him on track to stay in power for life at a time of severe economic challenges and rising tensions with the US and others. The endorsement of Xi's appointment by the ceremonial National People's Congress was a foregone conclusion for a leader who has sidelined potential rivals and filled the top ranks of the ruling Communist Party with his supporters since taking power in 2012, the AP reports. The vote for Xi was 2,952 to 0 by the NPC, members of which are appointed by the ruling party.

Xi, 69, had himself named to a third five-year term as party general secretary in October, breaking with a tradition under which Chinese leaders handed over power once a decade. No candidate lists were distributed, and Xi and those awarded other posts were believed to have run unopposed. The election remains almost entirely shrouded in secrecy, apart from the process in which delegates to the congress put four ballots into boxes placed around the vast auditorium of the Great Hall of the People. Xi was also unanimously named commander of the 2 million-member People's Liberation Army, a force that explicitly takes its orders from the party rather than the country.

Second-ranked Li Qiang, best known for ruthlessly enforcing a "zero-COVID" lockdown on Shanghai last spring, is widely expected to take over as premier, nominally in charge of the Cabinet and caretaker of the economy. Xi's new term and the appointment of loyalists to top posts underscores his near-total monopoly on Chinese political power, eliminating any potential opposition to his hyper-nationalistic agenda of building China into the top political, military, and economic rival to the US and the chief authoritarian challenge to the Washington-led democratic world order. While six others serve with him on the Politburo Standing Committee, all have longstanding ties to Xi and can be counted on to see to his will on issues from party discipline to economic management. (More China stories.)

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