Xi Jinping secured a precedent-breaking third five-year presidential term on Friday, March 10, during a parliamentary session in which he further tightened his control as China faces mounting challenges at home and globally.
Xj Jinping was officially endorsed by the country’s political elite on Friday, solidifying his control and making him the longest-serving head of state of Communist China since its founding in 1949.
Nearly 3,000 members of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), voted unanimously in the Great Hall of the People for the 69-year-old Xi in an election where there was no other candidate.
Xi, has led China in a more authoritarian direction since assuming control a decade ago, and with Friday’s vote extends his tenure for another 5 years amid increasingly tense relations with the the US and the West over Taiwan, Beijing’s backing of Russia, trade and human rights.
Xi set the stage for another term when he kicked out presidential term limits in 2018, and has become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, who founded the People’s Republic.
China’s presidency is largely ceremonial, and Xi’s main position of power was extended last October when he was reconfirmed for five more years as general secretary of the central committee of the Communist Party.
During Friday’s voting, Xi chatted casually with premier-in-waiting Li Qiang, who was seated to his left and is poised to be confirmed on Saturday to China’s No.2 position.
The annual parliamentary session, the first since China dropped three years of COVID restrictions, will end on Monday, when Xi will give a speech that will be followed by a media question-and-answer session by Li.