Today in China’s annual sitting of the National People’s Congress, it was voted that the nation’s two-term presidential limit was to be abolished. Out of 2,963 votes only two delegates voted against the change while another three abstained altogether. This historic vote means Xi Jinping could be president for the remainder of his life.
Xi was photographed in session applauding when the result of the votes were announced.
Xi claps as 2958 of 2963 support constitution change. The deed is done. pic.twitter.com/VGLhX6xvfg— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) March 11, 2018
A single term of presidency in China is five years and Xi became president in 2012 so if the two-term limit was still in place, Xi would have stepped down in 2023.
The two-term limit was introduced in 1982 by former leader Deng Xiaoping following the chaotic era of the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976 lead by Mao Zedong. However, in late February Xi announced his desire to remove the term limits from the country’s constitution.
For some, the decision was welcomed as his supporters believe him to have evolved the country into a force not to be doubted, by foreign nations. Others met it with widespread controversy. Although from both sides, many agreed they saw the proposal coming when Xi failed to present a potential candidate for the next presidency as per political tradition. This happened in October 2017.
The government had any discussion of the topic censored including the animated character Winnie the Pooh, who in 2017 was compared to the president for their apparent likeness in appearence.
Being the general secretary of China’s Communist party, the chairman of the Central Military Commission and President of the People’s Republic, Xi is arguably the country’s most powerful leader since Mao. Neither of Xi’s other two leadership position have a term limit rule.