World’s longest-ruling leader looks set to secure new term after 43 years in power
TIANANMEN, China (AP) — Xi Jinping would be China’s next president after he was voted in to a new term at Sunday’s presidential election.
That was the outcome of a closely watched vote on a ballot of 1,034 delegates at a closed-door meeting of the largely ceremonial National People’s Congress.
President Hu Jintao, who was the face of the Chinese Communist Party for three decades, was re-elected to a second, two-year term.
The results were announced by party officials in the evening, and the announcement was carried live by state-run television.
Beforehand, the national congress, a body that is rarely seen in public, had passed unanimous resolutions that called for Hu to be succeeded by Xi. It was a historic moment in the history of the Chinese Communist Party. The party’s formal newspaper, People’s Daily, also hailed the outcome.
With the national congress ballot over, the results were announced by Hu’s and Xi’s official nominees and by party officials.
Hu and Xi were both present at their respective wins, marking the first time two Chinese leaders appeared side by side at the same event.
The two-man race featured a surprise showing of support for Hu, who is expected to retire by March 2013 to avoid a political confrontation with Xi.
Hu, who had been expected to win, was the subject of intense speculation following his defeat in the presidential poll in early January. Many speculated he would leave office with a pledge to continue the progress of the Chinese Communist Party’s policies.
Hu had faced a challenge from seven other candidates at a televised debate between him and the seven-person field of candidates. All seven had been expected to win.
The debate was the first in the nearly two years since its organizers had moved to make it the first in a series of rounds of