Xi Jinping gets an unprecedented 3rd term as Chinese president

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Xi Jinping gets an unprecedented 3rd term as Chinese President

Xi Jinping during the parliamentary session, where he won his third term as president

Xi Jinping secured a historic third term as China's president on Friday after a formal vote by parliament, the culmination of a rise that has seen him become the country's most powerful leader for generations. /p>

The result of the deputies' vote, announced shortly before 11:00 a.m., is final: 2,952 votes for, zero against, zero abstentions.

Since the parliament in China is, in practice, subservient to the ruling Communist Party (CCP), the outcome of the poll was in no doubt.

The 69-year-old leader had already obtained in October a five-year extension at the top of the CCP and the military commission, the two most important positions of power.

The only candidate, he was reappointed for the same term as Head of State.

The last few months have been complicated for Xi Jinping, however, with large demonstrations in late November against his zero COVID policy and a large wave of deaths following the abandonment of this health strategy in December.

Sensitive topics carefully avoided during the current annual session of Parliament, a highly orchestrated event during which Li Qiang, an ally of Mr. Xi, is expected to become the new prime minister to replace Li Keqiang.

MEPs have mainly focused in recent days on an institutional reform plan aimed at beefing up the Ministry of Science and Technology and China's digital capabilities, in the face of what the government presents as Western containment against China in that sector.

The annual session of Parliament also saw the announcement of a modest growth target of around 5% for 2023 and a defense budget rising.

Xi Jinping's formal re-election to the top of the state crowns a remarkable political rise in which he has gone from politician little known to the general public to the most powerful Chinese leader in decades.

Author of a biography on the president, the Swiss writer and journalist Adrian Geiges believes that personal enrichment is not his primary motivation.

That's not what interests him, he told AFP. He really has a vision for China, he wants China to become the most powerful country in the world.

For decades, the People's Republic of China, scalded by political chaos and the cult of personality during the reign (1949-1976) of its leader and founder Mao Tse-tung, had promoted a more collegial governance at the top of power.

Under this model, Xi Jinping's predecessors, namely Jiang Zemin and then Hu Jintao, had each given up their place as president after ten years in this position.

But Mr. Xi put an end to this rule by abolishing the limit of two presidential terms in the Constitution in 2018, while allowing a quasi-cult of personality to develop around him.

Xi Jinping thus becomes the longest-serving supreme leader in recent Chinese history.

Septuagenarian at the end of this new mandate, he could even potentially extend for a new five-year term if no credible dolphin asserts himself in the meantime.

But its challenges remain numerous at the head of the second world economy, between the slowdown in growth, the fall in the birth rate, the difficulties of the real estate sector or even the international image of China to improve.

Relations with the United States are at their lowest in decades, with numerous disputes, from Taiwan to the treatment of Uyghur Muslims, including rivalry in technology.

Xi Jinping this week condemned the policy of containment, encirclement and repression against China implemented by Western countries led by the United States and which brought unprecedented challenges to the country's development.

A new vice-pr President must also be formally elected Friday by Parliament, replacing Wang Qishan.

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