Xi Jinping re-elected as China's president with Wang Qishan as VP

Xi Jinping re-elected as China's president with Wang Qishan as VP

China's parliament on Saturday unanimously elected Xi Jinping as President for a second consecutive term, paving the way for a new leadership lineup that includes trusted ally Wang Qishan, as Vice President.

It was carefully staged in the grandiose Great Hall of the People on the edge of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The vice presidency has been a largely symbolic role in previous decades, but it is expected to be adapted to allow Wang to become involved in issues chosen by Xi, even though he is not a senior member of the Communist Party.

Last Sunday, parliament voted to amend the constitution, which removed presidential and vice-presidential term limits, meaning Xi can stay in power indefinitely, a move the government has presented as widely welcomed despite criticism that has evaded the censors and seeped onto Chinese social media.

He was also elected as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China.

He is in the frontline of Xi's anti-corruption campaign, which netted 1.5 million officials from lower-cadre to regional leaders and generals in the past five years.

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Now, as vice president, Wang is expected to play a role in trying to manage China's increasingly testy relations with the United States, at a time when President Donald Trump is demanding a big reduction in the trade imbalance between the two countries. Although legislative dissent is rare - only four lawmakers withheld support for Xi's first term in 2013 - no president has received a unanimous vote in at least a quarter-century.

On the other hand, the 69-year-old Vice President, who had stepped down from the Communist Party last year had has kept a prominent profile, sharing the table as the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee during the public sessions of the National People's Congress. Only Mao Zedong has had his political thought written into the party charter while in office. Wang, reportedly a fan of the US version of the TV series "House of Cards", was mostly in charge of economic issues as vice premier from 2008 to 2013 and led trade talks with the European Union and U.S.

The President also expressed his confidence in the success of the upcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which will be chaired by Xi Jinping in Qingdao and will undoubtedly be an important milestone in the work of this influential global association.

While Xi's reappointment was assumed, there had been some speculation about Wang.

All top government post will be filled by the new officials except Premier Li Keqiang. Yang, country's most senior diplomat, was past year elected to the powerful 25-member Politburo, a sign of his bigger role.