China's parliament gives Xi second term, top ally named VP

Xi receives a standing ovation after winning all 2,970 votes at the annual session of the National People's Congress


Afp March 17, 2018
PHOTO: REUTERS/ File

BEIJING: China's rubber-stamp parliament unanimously re-appointed President Xi Jinping to a second five-year term on Saturday and elevated his former anti-corruption chief to the vice presidency.

Xi's reappointment by the Communist Party-controlled legislature was a foregone conclusion, but all eyes had been on whether his former anti-corruption enforcer, Wang Qishan, would become his deputy.

Xi received a standing ovation after winning all 2,970 votes at the annual session of the National People's Congress. In 2013, Xi had received 2,952 votes, with one against and three abstentions, a 99.86 percent share.

Only one delegate voted against Wang, who received 2,969 votes in favour.

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Elevating Wang, 69, allows Xi to keep a formidable ally by his side, as China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong cements his authority and sets his sights on a possible lifelong tenure.

Wang was at the frontline of Xi's anti-corruption crusade, heading the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which punished 1.5 million officials in the past five years, from low-level cadres to regional leaders and generals. He stepped down last year.

Known internationally in his previous role as China's pointman on trade, Wang could help Xi deal with increasingly tense relations with the United States amid fears of a looming trade war, analysts say.

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