World Bulletin / News Desk
Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader for decades, could stay in office indefinitely after the Communist Party called for the removal of presidential term limits.
But the party's Central Committee proposed deleting from the constitution the stipulation that a president "shall serve no more than two consecutive terms" of five years, the official Xinhua news agency reported Sunday.
"I think he will become emperor for life and the Mao Zedong of the 21st century", Willy Lam, politics professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told AFP.
"If his health permits, he wants to serve 20 years, which would mean until 2032 as secretary general of the party, and 2033 as state president," Lam said.
The proposed change, which would also apply to the vice-president, will be submitted to legislators at the annual full session of the rubber-stamp National People's Congress starting March 5. Xi is expected to be given a second term in office during the two-week-long session.
Xi has been chipping away at the collective model of leadership that was promoted by Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the country's economic reforms in the 1980s.
Xi's two predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, both served two five-year terms, but he has signalled bigger ambitions.
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