Chinese premier Xi Jinping announces new politburo without heir apparent, opens path to long-term rule

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Chinese premier Xi Jinping
Chinese premier Xi Jinping

New Delhi : Chinese premier Xi Jinping has opened doors for the long-term rule as he presented the new politburo without an heir apparent.

The line-up of the Communist Party's elite Politburo standing committee, announced on Wednesday, includes seven men aged between 60 to 67, which indicates that there are no obvious younger candidates to serve as a successor to Xi.

Designating a successor had been the norm since the 1990s, in an attempt to create stability and predictability in a party that lacks a formal succession process.

However, Xi’s consistent centralisation of power has led many to believe that he does not intend to step down in 2022 after two terms, as his predecessors did.

On Tuesday, more than 2,300 delegates attending the party’s 19th congress voted unanimously to include a reference to “Xi Jinping Thought” in the party constitution. Xi is the first living leader to be so enshrined in the document since Mao Zedong, China’s revolutionary hero.

The rare designation will make it difficult for any other party leader to challenge Xi during his lifetime, regardless of whether he holds a formal party or state title.

Although, despite the undisputed power, Xi did not select his protégés over senior officials with broader policy experience into standing committee, as many observers had expected. 

In a brief address, Xi promised to continue the economic reforms begun 40 years ago by Deng Xiaoping.

“We will see that reform and opening up complement and reinforce each other,” Xi said. “It is my conviction that the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will become a reality.”