BEIJING: Xi Jinping was elected Chinese president by a unanimous vote Saturday morning at the ongoing session of the 13th National People’s Congress, reported Xinhua.
Xi, 64, was also elected chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by a unanimous vote. Right after the election, Xi took a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution in the Great Hall of the People. This was the first time for a Chinese president to take such an oath upon assuming office.
Last October, he was elected general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and appointed CMC chairman of the CPC at the first plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. In 2007, Xi joined the central leadership as a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
He was first elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in late 2012, and Chinese president and CMC chairman of the PRC in March 2013.
The National People’s Congress voted on changes to the Chinese constitution, specifically the requirement that a president cannot exceed two-terms in office. A total of two delegates voted against the motion with another three abstaining.
2,964 delegates voted in favour of the changes.
The term-limits were introduced by Deng Xiaoping in the 1980’s but the repeal of the clause means that Xi Jinping can retain his post beyond 2023, the year his term ends. Observers have compared Xi Jinping’s influence to Chairman Mao Zedong with his thought officially enshrined as part of the CPC’s ideology as ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’.