China’s parliament officially amended the country’s constitution, removing the two-term limit on the presidency. The move paves the way for President Xi Jinping to remain in power for life.
Nearly 3,000 delegates to the National People’s Congress (NPC), the annual sitting of parliament in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, cast ballots to amend the constitution. The amendments removed a restriction that limited the presidency to two consecutive five-year terms, a policy imposed since the 1990s.
The vote was largely symbolic and considered a rubber-stamp, requiring a two thirds vote for the amendments to pass. Out of 2,964 ballots, only two delegates voted against the motion and three abstained.
Under the previous rules, President Xi would have had to step down in 2023 and presented a potential successor at the October Communist Party Congress. Instead, the 64-year-old has spent the past years consolidating his political influence and targeting his rivals in anti-corruption crackdowns, amassing more power than any Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong.
Xi expressed his support for the new amendments, calling them the “common will of the party and the people.”