Party transparency will overshadow Jiang's role in the military at plenum President Hu Jintao will today cement his authority over the ruling Communist Party at a key meeting, during which top party officials will discuss and approve his plan to bolster the party's legitimacy through increased transparency and accountability. However, Mr Hu's agenda has been overshadowed by intense speculation about a power struggle between him and his predecessor, Jiang Zemin , and whether Mr Jiang will step down as chairman of the Central Military Commission during the four-day plenum of the Communist Party Central Committee. Party sources yesterday said Mr Jiang, 78, had no intention of stepping down as military chief and that his retirement would not be discussed at the meeting, which will bring together almost 300 members and alternate members of the Central Committee. 'Many mainland academics and officials are hoping that Mr Jiang will step down to make a complete transfer of power, but that is not going to happen at the plenum,' one source said. Mr Jiang handed over the top party post and the presidency to Mr Hu in late 2002 and early last year in what was billed as China's first orderly transfer of power in decades. However, many have expressed dismay over the former leader's decision to stay on as chief of the military. Sources said Mr Jiang was expected to remain in the post for at least two more years to ensure the country's political and social stability. They said overseas media reports about a power struggle between Mr Jiang and Mr Hu had been greatly exaggerated as both men shared similar views on core political, economic and foreign issues. Sources said calls for Mr Jiang's retirement were not strong enough to pose any threat to his position. Highlighting Mr Jiang's influence, in recent days top-ranking generals have publicly urged the People's Liberation Army to obey his orders, while the official media has lavished praise on his teachings. Last week, Mr Jiang made an unannounced tour of military facilities in Fujian province - directly across the strait from Taiwan - amid rising tensions with the island. Officials at the plenum will discuss and approve a blueprint aimed at improving the party's power to govern, according to earlier official media reports. The blueprint is seen as part of Mr Hu's vision of introducing more checks and balances into the party's operations to stamp out rampant corruption and improve governance. It includes plans to enable ordinary party members to monitor the performance of senior party officials and to introduce a fairer and more transparent way to select and promote party officials. 'The idea is to introduce democratic elements into party mechanisms to make the party more relevant and fitter to rule,' one party source said. Top party officials are also expected to discuss economic issues, such as the latest efforts to bring the overheating economy to a soft landing, as well as cross-strait tensions.