- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2013

China leader Xi Jinping has been given the new title of president, a largely ceremonial role change that came by way of a 2,952-to-1 vote from the Beijing’s Great Hall of the People Delegates on Thursday.

The Guardian reports that Mr. Xi’s real authority comes from other positions he maintains — from his title as general secretary of the Communist Party and as chairman of the party’s military commission. He assumed those roles in November. But his election to president is somewhat historical at least, in that it represents the nation’s second organized and peaceful succession since Communists gained rule, in 1949, The Guardian reports.

Li Keqiang will likely be chosen as premier in a similarly conducted vote on Thursday, The Guardian says. And that new role is more a “consolation prize” than a true position of power, said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, an authority on Chinese politics at Hong Kong Baptist University, in The Guardian. “I don’t think Xi Jinping, at least at first sight, is going to give him a lot of power. He has to gain the confidence of Xi and that’s not guaranteed. He’s more of a check and balance.”

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