China’s Xi Jinping on Sunday secured the nod to rule indefinitely as parliament abolished presidential term limits. Members of National People’s Congress lifted the two five-year term limit for the presidency. Lawmakers say this will allow the leader, who would have had to leave in 2023, pursue a vision of transforming the nation into an economic and military superpower.
The amendment was sealed with 2,958 in favour, two against and three abstentions despite an unusual bout of online criticism that censors have scrambled to extinguish. It was the first constitutional amendment in 14 years. Head of the parliament’s Standing Committee, Zhang Dejiang, said the amendments “will ensure the constitution improves and develops in step with the times and provide a firm constitutional guarantee for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era”.
Xi, 64, has consolidated power since 2012 when he was appointed to the country’s top office – general secretary of the Communist Party.