Chinese Communist Party elects Xi Jinping as its general secretary for a precedent-breaking third term.

China’s President Xi Jinping has secured a historic third term as the country’s leader, cementing his place as the nation’s most influential ruler since Mao Zedong.

The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) elected Xi as its general secretary for another five-year term on Sunday, the official Xinhua news agency reported, tilting the country decisively back towards one-man rule after decades of power-sharing among its elites.

Xi is now all but certain to sail through to a third term as China’s president, due to be formally announced during the government’s annual legislative sessions in March next year.

The CCP also named a seven-member Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) led by Xi, its inner circle of power dominated by the party leader’s allies.

Xi unveiled the new lineup, walking at the head of the group as he lead them onto the stage at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to meet reporters.

Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang followed Xi, meaning that he is likely to succeed Li Keqiang as premier when he retires in March. The other members of China’s top governing body are Zhao Leji and Wang Huning, who return from the previous committee and newcomers Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi.

All are perceived to have close allegiance to the 69-year-old Xi.

A combination picture shows Chinese leaders Xi Jinping and members of the new Politburo Standing Committee
A combination picture shows Chinese leaders Xi Jinping (center), Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi attending the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China [Thomas Peter and Tingshu Wang/ Reuters]

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