Alwaght- China’s parliament passed on Sunday a series of constitutional amendments, including removing a constitutional clause that limits presidential service to two consecutive terms, potentially allowing the incumbent president Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely.
The announcement of the vote, witnessed by reporters in the Great Hall of the People, passed with two “no” votes and three abstentions among almost 3,000 delegates, Reuters reported.
China’s ruling Communist Party proposed the amendment last month and there was never any doubt it would pass as Chinese largely rubber stamp parliament is stacked with loyal party members who would not have opposed the proposal.
Nearing the end of his first term, he will be formally elected to a second at the annual meeting of China’s parliament opening on 5 March..
The limit of two five-year presidential terms was written into China’s constitution after Mao’s death in 1976 by Deng Xiaoping, who recognized the dangers of one-man rule and the cult of personality and instead espoused collective leadership.
The government has said lifting the term limits is about protecting the authority of the party with Xi at its center. The party’s official People’s Daily has said this does not mean life-long terms.
The party gave Xi the title of “core” leader in 2016, a significant strengthening of his position at the time.
While the presidency is important, Xi’s positions as head of the party and head of the military are considered more important, and these titles are always given first by state media. With the passage of the amendment, now none of the posts have formal term limits.
The amendments also include inserting Xi’s political theory into the constitution, something that was already done for the party constitution in October, and clauses to give a legal framework to a new super anti-corruption department.