China's General Secretary Xi is likely to get a third term.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to get an unprecedented third term as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. This would be a big change from the way the party has been run for decades.
Xi's name was at the top of the list of proposed party leaders that was given to the Central Committee Politburo at their meeting on September 9.
Before now, the general secretary held the top job for two terms of five years each.
The Communist Party National Congress for this year starts on October 16. First, about 200 people will be chosen to be on the Central Committee. These members will then choose the general secretary and other top party positions, but a party source said it was unlikely that the September plan for hiring people would be changed.
Another party source says that Xi is also in charge of the group that is writing the speech that will be given at the National Congress. It has always been the norm for the next leader to be in charge of the drafting group.
There is an unwritten rule in the party that high-level party members who are 68 or older at the time of a National Congress must step down from their positions. But since Xi is already 69 years old, this rule won't apply to him.
In fact, Chinese media have been calling Xi "great helmsman" since the end of last year. This was once a name for Mao Zedong.
There is a chance that Xi's new title could be written into the rules of the party. At the same time, it seems less likely that Xi will take the title of "chairman" of the party, which Mao used to stay in power forever.
Deng Xiaoping set up a collective party leadership structure in the 1980s because Mao's cult of personality had terrible effects that led to the Cultural Revolution. This was one of the main reasons.
But Xi made a plan to stay in power longer than other leaders by getting rid of the limit on how many terms a president could serve. He has also put more weight on the idea that the world is at a major turning point that only happens once every 100 years.
The Chinese Constitution says that Premier Li Keqiang will lose his job in March 2023. Wang Yang, who is 67 years old and is fourth in the party's hierarchy, is the most likely person to take his place. He is the chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, who is 59 years old, is also a possible candidate.
Both Xi and his predecessor, Hu Jintao, were among the top leadership group more than five years before they reached the top.
But it's unlikely that Xi will be replaced at the next personnel change, so he could stay in power until 2027 and serve a fourth term.