The Associated Press BEIJING (AP) — China’s rubber-stamp lawmakers on Sunday passed a historic constitutional amendment abolishing presidential term limits that will enable President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.
The National People’s Congress’ nearly 3,000 hand-picked delegates endorsed the constitutional amendment, voting 2,958 in favor with two opposed, three abstaining and one vote invalidated.
The amendment upends a system enacted by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent a return to the bloody excesses of a lifelong dictatorship typified by Mao Zedong’s chaotic 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. The Constitution had until now limited presidents to serving only two consecutive terms.
Voting began in the mid-afternoon, with Xi leading members of the seven-member all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in casting their votes. He placed his orange ballot paper in a red box bearing the official seal of state placed front and center on the stage inside the cavernous hall.
Rank and file deputies then rose to vote on the floor of the hall as jaunty instrumental music played. Ten minutes later, the process had ended and delegates were asked to return to their seats while the votes were counted.