02/26/2018, 09.06
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No limits to the office of president: Xi Jinping like Mao Zedong

by Wang Zhicheng

The Party has proposed a change to the constitution, which will have to be voted in March. So far the office was limited to two terms. The president has formal and institutional functions. It is probable that there will be new changes to the constitution to allow lifelong tenure for party secretary. Wang Qishan, Xi Jinping's great ally possible new vice-president.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) yesterday decided to change the country's constitution by removing the two-term limit for the president and vice-president. Many analysts think this will allow Xi Jinping, current president, party general secretary and head of the Central Military Commission, to hold power indefinitely, and perhaps for life, as it was for Mao Zedong.

The announcement was reported yesterday by Xinhua coming at the end of the Chinese New Year holiday. The state agency then released the text of the proposed change, which will be discussed at the National People's Congress (NPC) next month. Usually, the NPC endorses everything the Party proposes. The document explaining the change is dated Jan. 26 - a week after the last meeting of the CCP Central Committee. Xinhua did not explain why there was this time lapse (almost a month) to make the proposal known to the public.

The two mandates is an unwritten rule, ordered by Deng Xiaoping to correct the disasters that occurred with the regency of Mao Zedong, who in the last years of his life was manipulated by the so-called "Band of the Four", which, in addition to the economic disaster of the country , strengthened the divisions and struggles in the Party, from the Cultural Revolution onwards.

Until now all the presidents (and general secretaries) - Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao - had followed this rule. At the 19th CCP Congress last October, Xi's ambition to continue being in office was already in the air, as no clear successor of the Sixth Generation had emerged.

The proposed change only concerns the office of president and vice-president, whose responsibilities are limited and lack any real effective power, which instead is concentrated in the office of CCP general secretary. But analysts believe there will be more proposal to change the constitution in coming years.

According to unconfirmed rumors, the next vice-president could be Xi stalwart Wang Qishan, former head of the powerful anti-corruption commission, which resigned October last due to age restrictions.

The Global Times, a newspaper closely linked to the CCP, explained yesterday in an editorial that the proposed change "does not mean that the Chinese president will last for life".

Two days ago, in a Politburo study session, Xi Jinping stressed "the important role" of the constitution in the country. According to Xinhua, he said: " No organisation or individual has the power to overstep the constitution or the law".

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