China to drop presidential term limits, clearing way for Xi Jinping to stay on
China’s Communist Party (CCP) has proposed amending the country’s constitution to allow President Xi Jinping to serve a third term in office.
Posted by Times News on Sunday, 25th February 2018
China Xinhua News said the Party will remove the provision that the President and Vice President "shall serve no more than two consecutive terms" from the constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
The proposed amendment will have to be ratified by China’s rubber-stamp parliament -- the National People’s Congress (NPC) -- in March.
When it goes into effect, Xi will be free to serve indefinitely as China’s head of state, the strongest indication yet he is intending to maintain power at the top beyond the two 5-year terms served by his predecessors for the past 20 years.
As breaking with tradition that plans to change the country’s constitution for the first time since 2004 were announced in December, with most analysts predicting the Party would seek to modify the country’s top legal document to create a National Supervision Commission (NSC), a country-wide anti-corruption task force with sweeping new powers.
In January, the Party’s top body proposed also adding "Xi Jinping Thought" to the document, enshrining it alongside Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as a key guiding principle of the country.
Experts predicted last October that Xi may seek to stay on as leader after he failed to unveil an obvious successor at a major party congress, appearing to break with an unwritten rule of two five-year terms as head of the party.
However, some doubted whether this would require a constitutional change, saying Xi could simply retain power through his role as General Secretary of the CCP, which does not have term limits, rather than the ceremonial presidency.
Deng Xiaoping, the most powerful Chinese leader after Mao Zedong, gave up most of his official titles but retained a tight grip on the country until his death in 1997.
By contrast, Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao was pushed out of his political roles and stripped of influence once Xi came to power. Since then he has rarely taken part in public engagements and many of his allies have fallen to Xi’s anti-corruption campaign.
Editor: Jian Ping Sun