Unlike the U.S., where the suspense of who will enter the
White House for the coming presidential term will continue to
occupy voters minds until the very last minute,
Chinas masses knew for at least the past five years who
would run the nation from 2013-2022.
Vice President Xi Jinping, the incoming leader-in-waiting,
will be officially elected general secretary of the
Communist Party of China during the 18th Party Congress, which
is set to open on November 8. He will succeed Hu Jintao who
ruled China as general secretary and president since 2003.
Xi, 59, the son of one of the leaders of the 1949 revolution
that brought the party to power, will also be formally anointed
the president during the upcoming National Peoples
Congress in March. During the upcoming Congress, which gathers
both party and nonparty delegates. Vice Premier Li Keqiang, 57,
is expected to succeed Wen Jiabao as premier. These two were
chosen by party elders in closely veiled, behind-the-scenes
negotiations that began half a decade ago.
Xi earned a bachelors in chemical engineering and a
doctorate in Marxist theory from Beijings prestigious
Tsinghua University, Chinas equivalent to Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. Li, who holds a law degree and a
doctorate in economics from Peking University, will become the
first Chinese premier who was educated in economics. Previous
premiers tended to come from engineering backgrounds.
The Communist Party prefers stability and has
had the tradition of leaders and elders choosing successors for
decades. Current leader Hu was handpicked by former paramount
leader Deng Xiaoping, who ruled China in the 1980s and 1990s.
Deng also handpicked former president Jiang Zemin, who played a
significant role in choosing incoming leader Xi.
Xi will have his work cut out for him, says Guan
Anping, a Beijing-based securities lawyer and a former
government official. China is entering an era of slower
growth. The nation has to drastically overhaul its economic
structure, decrease its high dependence on exports and increase
domestic consumption to drive sustainable growth.
While Xi and Li are ensured the top spots,
suspense hangs over who will be the other members of the
Standing Committee the ruling council that
runs the party and the nation. More than 2,200 party delegates
will gather in Beijing for the congress to vote to decide who
else joins Xi and Li at the top.