How Communist Party of China elects its leader

September 19, 2017 06:47 pm | Updated 07:23 pm IST

China’s President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang attend the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2017.

China’s President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang attend the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2017.

Five of the seven members of China’s Politburo Standing Committee — the country’s supreme decision-making body – are due to retire in a massive leadership change that happens twice a decade. Here is how it goes down:

The procedure

The selection begins with the delegates for the National Party Congress being hand-picked by the Communist Party of China. The National Party Congress meets once every five years. The practice started in 1921, making this year's National Congress the 19th.

There will be around 2,300 delegates who will select members of the Central Committee. The Central Committee consists of around 400 members who approve the 20-25 member Politburo and the 7-member Politburo Standing Committee.

The retirement

Members of the Politburo Standing Committee are required to retire if they have reached the age of 68 in a National Congress year. This time, five members are set to retire, with Chinese President Xi Jinping (64) and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (62) the ones left.

Mr. Xi will be returned as General Secretary of the 89 million-strong Party and retain leadership of powerful military. Mr. Li and and Mr. Xi are locked in a battle to fill the Politburo Standing Committee vacancies with their own supporters.

Possible Standing Committee candidates

Li Zhanshu, a Politburo member of the Communist Party of China. File

Li Zhanshu, a Politburo member of the Communist Party of China. File

 

Li Zhanshu — Often called Mr. Xi’s right-hand man

Wang Huning, a Politburo member of the Communist Party of China. File

Wang Huning, a Politburo member of the Communist Party of China. File

 

Wang Huning — Close to Mr. Xi, said to be behind his Chinese Dream campaign, specialist in U.S. politics

Zhao Leji, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. File

Zhao Leji, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. File

 

Zhao Leji — Head of department which screens candidates for top government posts

Liu Qibao, head of the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s Publicity Department. File

Liu Qibao, head of the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s Publicity Department. File

 

Liu Qibao — Head of powerful propaganda department, traditional springboard for promotion

Hu Chunhua, Communist Party od China Secretary of Guangdong. File

Hu Chunhua, Communist Party od China Secretary of Guangdong. File

 

Hu Chunhua — Party Secretary of Guangdong, regarded as rising star

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang. File

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang. File

Wang Yang — Two-term Politburo member

Han Zheng, the Communist Party of China’s Shanghai chief. File

Han Zheng, the Communist Party of China’s Shanghai chief. File

Han Zheng — Shanghai party boss could join Mr. Xi’s economic team

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