Chinese Communist Party's congress closes in Beijing

Wednesday 14 November 2012 17.57
More than 2,200 Communist delegates gathered for the Congress
More than 2,200 Communist delegates gathered for the Congress

The Chinese Communist Party congress drew to a close today in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

The gathering of more than 2,200 ruling party delegates from around the country closed after selecting a new central committee, starting a process that will end with the unveiling of the country's new leaders.

Xinhua news agency confirmed that Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang were both elected to the party's central committee at the end of the week-long meeting, a result that was never really in doubt.

Tomorrow, the central committee will meet to determine the make-up of China's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee.

This year's gathering is expected to see Mr Xi selected as party leader for the next decade.

Mr Xi is also expected to take over from Hu Jintao as China's president in March 2013.

Mr Xi has long been expected to take over from Mr Hu, first as party chief at this congress and then as president when parliament meets for its annual session in March, completing the party's second orderly succession since it took power in 1949.

One lingering question that will be answered tomorrow is whether Mr Hu can continue to wield power if he hangs on to his role as chairman of the Central Military Commission, the supreme decision-making body for China's nuclear-armed 2.3 million-strong military.

Mr Hu's predecessor, Jiang Zemin, only relinquished the post two years after handing the reins of the party to Mr Hu in 2002.

After days of turgid speeches and rhetorical displays of party unity, the five-yearly Congress also unanimously approved Mr Hu's "state of the nation" work report and approved a revision to the party charter further enshrining his theory of sustainable and equitable development.

Mr Hu told delegates that "we should free up our minds (and) implement the policy of reform" before the closing ceremony ended with playing of The Internationale, the traditional Communist anthem.

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