For more than two decades, a new general secretary has been appointed at every other Communist Party congress.
But since the last Congress in 2017, Xi Jinping has announced his intention to keep a firm grip on all aspects of what is seen as a trifecta of power in China: control of party, state and military. .
At the last Congress in 2017, he broke with tradition and did not name a potential successor to the Standing Committee.
Then, months later, China’s auto-approve legislature eliminated term limits for China’s president. This was widely seen as allowing Xi to pursue a third term as head of state, while retaining his control over the Communist Party – where the real power lies.
While there is no formal term limit for the general secretary, staying at the top of the party would also force Xi to break another unwritten rule: the party’s informal age limit.
Waiver of Term Limits: The norm is that senior officials who are 68 or older at the time of Congress retire. At 69, Xi would ignore this recent convention by staying in power.
What is less clear is whether he will seek to grant exemptions to other Politburo allies, disrupting one of the few neutral methods the party has to ensure turnover, or whether he could, on the contrary , lowering the retirement age for others in order to squeeze out some existing members.
Amendment of the constitution: Xi is also expected to cement his legacy, likely through amendments to the party’s constitution – a regular feature of every Congress.
The Politburo discussed the changes at a scheduled meeting last month, according to a government statement that did not include details.
In 2017, Xi became the first leader since Mao Zedong – the founder of communist China – to have his philosophy added to the constitution while still in power. Observers have suggested Xi’s key tenets may be more enshrined this time around.
These details will be signs of the power Xi wields within the upper echelons of the party – and the strength of his support as he enters his long-awaited and groundbreaking third term at the helm of one of the most powerful countries in the world. world.
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