Xi Jinping gets second term, with ally Wang Qishan as vice-president

Only one vote against former anti-graft tsar and unanimous support for Xi

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 10:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2018, 10:12am

China’s legislature formally endorsed Xi Jinping’s second five-year presidential term on Saturday, and voted in Wang Qishan as the country’s new vice-president.

It followed the National People’s Congress a week ago approving a change to the constitution to remove term limits on both the presidency and vice-presidency.

The political comeback of Wang – who stepped down from the ruling Communist Party’s top echelon and his position as head of its graft watchdog in October – confirmed a South China Morning Post report in December. 

A total of 2,969 people voted to elect him vice-president, with only one voting against.

The National People’s Congress also unanimously confirmed Xi’s second term, with 2,970 votes in favour.

Li Zhanshu, who was Xi’s chief of staff in his first term, also received a unanimous vote in favour of him becoming chairman of the national legislature.

Will Wang Qishan’s new job become a problem for the Communist Party?

Sources have said Wang is expected to be given a portfolio covering China’s ambitious global affairs agenda, including handling rocky relations with the United States. 

With a trade war looming between the US and China, Wang, 69, will have to draw on his experience as a problem solver for the job.

One world, two empires: is China-US conflict inevitable?

The exact role he will play in relation to Xi, who is now the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, and other members of the new all-star foreign policy team could also be of interest.

Although Wang no longer holds a senior rank within the party, as vice-president he will join its foreign affairs leading group in charge of policymaking, which is headed by Xi.

He will also work with other party leaders with extensive foreign affairs experience – including Politburo Standing Committee members Wang Yang and Wang Huning, and Politburo member Yang Jiechi.

Wang Yang takes the helm of China’s top political advisory body

At Saturday morning’s meeting, NPC legislators also approved a plan to overhaul the central government structure, aiming to cut bureaucracy, improve efficiency and end turf wars.

They also confirmed Xi as head of the state’s nominal military ruling commission, which is almost certain to mirror the party’s top brass line-up.

Past votes for vice-presidents:

Li Yuanchao (2013)

For: 2,839 Against: 80 Abstentions: 37

Xi Jinping (2008)

For: 2,919 Against: 28 Abstentions: 17

Zeng Qinghong (2003)

For: 2,578 Against: 177 Abstentions: 190