China's new VP could be problematic for CPC

Pauline Gross
March 18, 2018

His confidante, Wang, was elected as vice president for the first time.

Weeks after eliminating two-term rule for the President in China, Xi Jinping has been re-elected as the country's president for the second consecutive five-year tenure on Saturday.

Xi's close ally, Wang Qishan, became his deputy, with 2,969 delegate votes in favor and one against.

Xi, is considered the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong and last Sunday was given the right to continue in office indefinitely after the legislature scrapped term limits for the president and vice president.

While most of Xi's power flows from his roles as party chief and supreme military commander, being president - or "chairman" in Chinese - gives him legal standing as head of state.

His election marks a formal return of the 69-year-old to the centre stage of Chinese politics. Post the voting, Xi was given a standing ovation by the legislatures while he shook hands with Wang.

Aside from installing Mr. Wang, President Xi has used the congress, a largely rubber-stamp body, to add to his already considerable power.

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Delegates attend a plenary session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 11, 2018.

The constitution states that the vice president can "assist" the president in his work and act on his behalf to carry out presidential duties. He helped set up China's first investment bank with Morgan Stanley in the 1990s and also established enduring ties with prominent Wall Street figures such as Henry Paulson.

Wang stepped down from his senior position in the Communist Party as head of an anti-corruption watchdog last October after reaching the age of 68, a customary age for high-ranking Chinese officials to go into retirement.

Lawmakers were also expected to confirm the leader of a powerful new law enforcement and ethics commission to police millions of public servants, party officials, academics, journalists and state company managers.

Many were opponents of his "boss", President Xi.

Xi's new power might provide reassurance to investors who believe that bureaucratic resistance has slowed his reform agenda.

Cabestan said Wang would likely be considerably more influential than his immediate predecessor Li Yuanchao, given his close relationship with Xi and greater global profile.

Other reports by GizPress

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