China has approved the removal of term limits for its leader, in a move that effectively allows Xi Jinping to remain as president for life.
The constitutional changes were passed by China’s annual sitting of the National People’s Congress on Sunday.
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 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.