China's Parliament on Friday unanimously endorsed an unprecedented third five-year term for President Xi Jinping, paving the way for him to stay in power for life.
Xi, 69, was re-elected by the once-in-a-five-year Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) as its leader in October last year, becoming the first Chinese leader after the party founder Mao Zedong to continue in power beyond the two five-year terms.
China's legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC) often described as the rubber stamp Parliament, for its mechanical and routine endorsement of the decisions of the CPC on Friday voted on the expected lines ratifying Xi's third term.
Xi is widely expected to continue in power for life.
The NPC, besides ratifying Xi's Presidency, also endorsed his continuation as the Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, the head of the two-million-strong People's Liberation Army, which is the largest military in the world.
He has already been elected as the General Secretary of the CPC during its last October Congress, which also elected a new leadership for all its top policy bodies.
His “unanimous election” by over 2,950 legislators was announced in a nationally televised proceeding of the NPC.
After he was endorsed, Xi took a pledge of allegiance to the Constitution and bowed before the members of the House.
The NPC also endorsed Xi's close aide Han Zheng as vice president.
This year's annual session of the NPC is regarded significant as it heralds a once-in-a-ten-year change of leadership of the Chinese government, including the Premier who presides over the State Council, the central Cabinet.
The term of the present Premier Li Keqiang will end with this year's NPC session.
His successor, widely expected to be Li Qiang, who is a close associate of Xi, is likely to be elected by the NPC on Saturday.
All the names of the new leadership have been approved by the plenum of the CPC headed by Xi a few weeks ago. The NPC approval is a routine formality.
The new Premier will address the annual press conference on March 13, the last day of this year's annual NPC session.