Beijing, Mar 14 (PTI) Vice Premier Wang Yang was today elected as the chairman of China’s political advisory body – the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The CPPCC is largely a ceremonial body of over 2,100 members who included film star Jackie Chan. It meets annually once along with the rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC). Both are currently under session.
Wang, 63, was elected to the powerful seven member Standing Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) during the once-in-a-five-year Congress of the party last October apparently with the support of the group belonging to former Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, 64, who is ranked second in the leadership hierarchy after President Xi Jinping, too belonged to Hu’s group of Chinese Communist Youth League.
Another Standing Committee member Han Zheng, 63, is reported to have been backed by another former president, Jiang Zemin, 91.
Both Hu and Jiang retired but continue to have support base in CPC.
Li, Wang and Han who were all elected to the powerful Standing Committee, which rules China, were part of what was previously stated to be collective leadership system.
However, CPC’s leadership orientation has changed this month with elevation of Xi as the core leader by the CPC, making him a leader ranked above others in the party.
Xi further consolidated his hold on March 11 when the NPC ratified a constitutional amendment to remove two-term limit for the president.
This made Xi as the only leader after party founder Chairman Mao Zedong to continue as China’s leader for life.
Wang’s appointment to head the advisory body was seen as further consolidation of power by Xi in CPC’s hierarchy.
NPC is set to ratify the names of all top positions in the next few days.
While Xi was expected to remain head of the CPC, the military and presidency, Premier Li who maintained a low profile in the last five years was expected to retain his post.
Xi’s trusted lieutenant, Wang Qishan who carried the deadly anti-corruption campaign launched by Xi is now tipped to be elected for the Vice President post even though he is due to retire as he turned 69 years. All Chinese leaders retire after 68 years.
If appointed, he is also expected to remain in power for life as the constitutional amendment has removed two term rule for both the president and the vice president posts.
The names for all top posts of the government including the Foreign Minister and other cabinet ministers besides head of the central bank were expected to be announced in next few days.
The current annual session of the NPC and CPPCC were due to end on March 20.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.