Xi Jinping secures historic third term as China’s leader

China’s President Xi Jinping has secured a historic third term as the country’s leader, cementing his place as the nation’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.

The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) elected Xi as its general secretary for a precedent-breaking five-year term on Sunday, tilting the country decisively back towards one-man rule after decades of power-sharing among its elites.

Xi is now all but certain to sail through to a third term as China’s president, due to be formally announced during the government’s annual legislative sessions in March next year.

The CCP also named a seven-member Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) led by Xi, its inner circle of power dominated by the party leader’s allies.

Xi introduced the new lineup, walking at the head of the group as he lead them onto the stage at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to meet reporters.

Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang followed Xi, meaning that he is likely to succeed Li Keqiang as premier when the latter retires in March. The other members of China’s top governing body are Zhao Leji and Wang Huning, who return from the previous committee and newcomers Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi.

“I wish to thank the whole party sincerely for the trust you have placed in us,” Xi told reporters, and promised to “work diligently in the performance of our duties to prove worthy of the great trust of our party and our people”.

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