China’s parliament on Friday unanimously endorsed an unprecedented third five-year term for President Xi Jinping, who became the most powerful leader of China in decades.
Xi, 69, is the first Chinese leader after the party founder Mao Zedong to continue in power beyond the two five-year terms.
Xi, who took power in 2012, was awarded a third five-year term as general secretary, discarding a party custom under which his predecessor left after 10 years.
The National People’s Congress (NPC) of China often described as the rubber stamp parliament, for its routine endorsement of the decisions of the CPC on Friday voted on the expected lines ratifying Xi’s third term.
“Confronted with new challenges and tests on the new journey, we must remain on high alert and stay sober-minded and prudent like a student sitting for an exam,” Xi said after his reelection.
Xi is expected to continue in power for life, as he was selected as the General Secretary of China’s Communist Party (CPC) in October last year, a role that gives him extra authority in the political structure of China.
It is believed the two-times Chinese Premier has promoted allies who support his vision of tighter control over society and the struggling economy. Some analysts believe Xi has now established exclusive control over the party’s inner circle, which paves the way for him to be in power for life.
It is also believed that new appointees are all loyal to President Xi, with no counterweight or checks and balances in the system at all.
Following his reelection, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, were among the first leaders to congratulate President Xi, according to state-run media outlets.