Xi Jinping won a third term as China’s president, extending his reign

BEIJING — Chinese leader Xi Jinping was given a third five-year presidential term on Friday, giving him the chance to stay in power for life.

The approval of Xi’s appointment by the National People’s Congress was a foregone conclusion for the leader, who has sided with potential rivals and filled the ruling Communist Party’s top ranks with supporters since coming to power in 2012.

In the USNP, whose members are appointed by the ruling party, 2,952 voted against Xi.

Xi, 69, was himself appointed to a third five-year term as party general secretary in October, breaking a tradition in which Chinese leaders hand over power once every ten years. The two-term limit for the figure’s presidency was previously excluded from the Chinese constitution, which led to speculation that he could remain in power for life.

Candidate lists were not circulated, and Xi and the others were believed to be running unopposed. For the most part, the electoral process remains shrouded in secrecy.

Xi was also unanimously appointed commander of the 2 million-strong People’s Liberation Army, a force that clearly follows the orders of the party, not the country.

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