Beijing [China], October 18 (ANI): As Chinese President Xi Jinping is seeking an unprecedented third term in office, analysts are thinking of premier Li Keqiang’s role in the country’s top decision-making body.
On Sunday, the 20th National Congress began, and talks have started about the succession of the country’s second most powerful position as well as repercussions for China’s economic policy, Channel NewsAsia reported.
Earlier, in March, Premier Li said that he would step down this year as head of China’s state council but gave no further details on whether he will stay in politics or will retire from his position.
China’s Premier is a trained economist with a liberal background, whose policies included plans for sweeping reforms to boost China’s economic development. However, after Xi came into power, Li’s power has been curtailed and the Chinese President headed a new leading group that oversaw economic reform.
“Age limit is politically neutral. Unless you break down somebody with charges of corruption, usually you don’t take them out if they haven’t reached their age limit,” said China elite politics expert Professor Bo Zhiyue, founder of the New Zealand-based Bo Zhiyue China Institute.
He thinks Li could take up the third highest-ranking post as chairman of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislative body while noting that there are other individuals in the party’s pecking order waiting to fill leadership slots, according to Channel NewsAsia.
Other experts think Li may choose to retire from the standing committee, or even from Chinese politics altogether, given how he is widely viewed as being sidelined by Xi during his term in office.
Earlier, Li was tipped to be running for the presidency but was in the end made premier to Xi in 2013, according to Channel NewsAsia.
His appointment came with support from Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao, with whom Li forged a relationship while in the Communist Party Youth League. The Youth League had been a strong power base for Hu, with the political elite from it forming a faction that Xi was not part of.
“Xi has a different relationship with his premier compared to Hu Jintao’s relationship with his premier Wen Jiabao,” said Professor Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute.
Xi wants a premier who can manage the economy competently, but on his terms, said Prof Tsang, instead of someone looking to operate independently.
This has curtailed Li’s influence over shaping the country’s economic policies and direction. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.