President Xi Jinping has been declared by China’s ruling Communist Party as its “core” leader on Thursday.
The proclamation followed the Sixth Plenum, a four-day meeting attended by 400 party leaders in Beijing.
Leaders asked members to “closely unite around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core.”
According to South China Morning Post, Xi’s elevated status gives him greater influence over reshuffles of the top ranks at the party’s upcoming congress, a five-yearly gathering. The communique released on Thursday set it in the second half of 2017 at the Chinese capital.
With Xi’s anointment, analysts speculated that he could stay in power beyond the conventional 10-year term. The “core of leadership” is known as the power of final approval.
Willy Lam, professor of politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told AFP:
“The core of leadership can last forever. There’s no idea of tenure, retirement age associated with the core.”
Deng Xiaoping first used “core” in 1989 as a term to describe Mao Zedong, himself and his successor, Jiang Zemin. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, was not awarded the title.
Xi’s proclamation also signals the end of the last core. Political commentator Zhang Lifan described:
“It means Xi has the final veto power. It’s the official crowning of his real power. It also means the end of the last ‘core’, Jiang Zemin. There can’t be two cores in the party.”
Xi assumed office in November 2012, nearly four years ago. Since then, he led economic reforms and appointed himself as military commander-in-chief.
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