The party is over, but the challenges are still there. This is how analysts see the nation's political future beyond the fanfare marking 60 years of Communist Party rule. Despite Thursday's celebrations cementing the authority and legitimacy of the party, they say it is unlikely one-party rule will last another 60 years. 'In the longer term, China should introduce a multi-party system as it goes forward to become modernised,' Professor Hu Xingdou, a commentator at the Beijing University of Technology, said. Hu said the party had now basically accomplished one of its four missions by bringing economic prosperity to the country, but it was still a long way from fulfilling the three others as spelled out by the president and party chief, Hu Jintao, in his keynote speech at the National Day ceremony on Thursday. In the speech, the president said his four missions were 'the magnificent goals of building a rich and strong, democratic, civilised, harmonious and modern socialist country'. With the celebrations now over, the first question that emerged among China observers is who will succeed Hu in 2012? They said they saw no clues from the nationwide broadcast by China Central Television about the political fortunes of Vice-President Xi Jinping, the heir apparent. In the past, party propagandists often used the televised event to offer clues about the country's political future. 'Overseas observers were disappointed as they eagerly looked at China Central Television's coverage for the smallest signs that might clarify the status,' Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a Hong Kong-based commentator, said. Chinese leadership politics are opaque. Almost nothing is publicly known about the dynamics of the relationships among the men who run the world's most populous country. An annual Communist Party plenum that preceded the celebrations was supposed to have seen Xi named vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission - a step closer to being the formal successor to the president. But against all expectations, Xi was not promoted at the conclave, compared with Hu, who took up the role of deputy in the military's supreme command at a similar meeting 10 years ago before becoming president. The lack of an announcement took observers and analysts by surprise and left many agreeing that now the door was open to many other possibilities. Hu Xingdou and Lau said the party might allow more than one candidate to compete for the top post, to deliberately avoid giving the outside world the impression that the leadership succession was pre-arranged. Lau said: 'The party leadership would not give such a message.' The analysts also said that Thursday belonged as much to Hu Jintao's predecessor, Jiang Zemin , as to the president. Both are believed to be key figures in a behind-the-scenes personnel reshuffle of the top leadership in three years' time. The live broadcast frequently cut away from other Politburo Standing Committee members to Hu Jintao - which was expected - but also to Jiang, who is seen as one of Xi's backers. Both retired and incumbent leaders were shown having frequent, animated conversations throughout the 145-minute event. Hu Xingdou said Hu Jintao wanted to emphasise that the leadership remained united despite widespread speculation overseas over political divisions that might exist. Despite Hu Jintao's rhetoric that only socialism and the Communist Party could govern successfully, analysts said it was time for the leadership to begin to seriously consider meaningful reform that introduced democracy based on the rule of law, and improvements to human rights and civil liberties. Hu Xingdou said that politically, the mainland was at an early stage of institutional reform that would face the nation and the party leadership in the years to come.