The parliament of China has recently passed a constitutional amendment that removes presidential term limits, enabling Xi Jinping, the current Chinese President, to indefinitely remain in office.
The ruling Communist Party proposed the said amendment in February, and there was never any doubt that it would pass as the parliament is filled with loyal party members who would not have any form of opposition to the proposal.
The vote was passed with three abstentions, two “no” votes, and one invalidated vote among the almost 3,000 delegates.
The 64-year-old leader started his second five-year term as the party chief last October, and at the end of the week, he will be formally appointed by the parliament.
The limit of two five-year presidential terms was written into the constitution of China following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 by Deng Xiaoping, who recognised the dangers of a one-man rule and the worship of personality and espoused collective leadership instead.
The government has said that lifting the term limits is all about protecting the authority of the party with President Xi at its centre.
The party’s official People’s Daily has said that this does not imply life-long terms.
In 2016, the party awarded President Xi the title of “core” leader, a notable strengthening of his position at the time.
While the presidency is deemed to be important, the positions of President Xi as the head of the party and the head of the military are considered to be more important, and these titles are always given by the state media first.
With the passage of the said amendment, none of the posts now have formal term limits.
The said amendments also include inserting the political theory of President Xi into the constitution, something that was already done last October for the party constitution, and clauses to furnish a legal framework to a new super anti-corruption department.