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Mon, 12 Mar 2018 12:05 - Updated Mon, 12 Mar 2018 12:05

China's Xi allowed to remain 'president for life' as term limits removed

China has approved the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing Xi Jinping to remain in power for life.

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The constitutional changes were passed by the annual sitting of parliament, the National People's Congress.

The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes.

China had imposed a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s.

But Mr Xi, who would have been due to step down in 2023, defied the tradition of presenting a potential successor during October's Communist Party Congress.

Instead, he consolidated his political power as the party voted to enshrine his name and political ideology in the party's constitution - elevating his status to the level of its founder, Chairman Mao.

On paper, the congress is the most powerful legislative body in China - similar to the parliament in other nations. But it was widely believed that it would approve what it was told to.

Mr Xi became president in 2013, and quickly consolidated personal power while cementing China as the regional superpower.

He also fought corruption, punishing more than a million party members - which has helped his popularity among some.

At the same time, however, China has clamped down on many emerging freedoms, increasing its state surveillance and censorship programs. Critics also say Mr Xi has used the anti-corruption purge to sideline political rivals.

bbc

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