China's leadership change: Xi, Li move towards power (Third Lead)
Beijing, Nov 14 (IANS) Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang Wednesday moved closer to taking over the reins of power in China, one of the world's strongest economies, as the Communist Party of China (CPC) elected a new 18th CPC Central Committee to lead the party in the next five years and backed reforms.
The CPC amended its constitution to support reforms and opening up of the economy as the path to a stronger China, reported Xinhua.
The 18th CPC Central Committee will in turn elect the Political Bureau, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and the General Secretary at its first plenary session Thursday morning.
Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang were amongst those elected into the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the closing session Wednesday, paving the way for Xi to succeed President Hu Jintao and Li Keqiang to take the place of Premier Wen Jiabao in a once-a-decade power transition.
Xi is member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 17th CPC Central Committee, vice president and vice chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission.
BBC describes the 59-year-old as a princeling, a term applied to senior officials who are thought to owe at least some of their success to family connections. He is the son of revolutionary veteran Xi Zhongxun, one of the Communist Party's founding fathers.
Li, 57, is also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 17th CPC Central Committee and vice premier.
There are a total of 2,325 delegates and specially invited delegates to the 18th National Congress that began Nov 8.
According to the party constitution, the highest leading body of the CPC is the National Congress and the Central Committee it elects, and all constituent organizations and members of the Party are subordinate to the National Congress and the Central Committee.
The CPC National Congress is held once every five years and convened by the Central Committee.
Delegates to the National Congress also passed resolutions on the report of the 17th CPC Central Committee, the work report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and an amendment to the CPC Constitution.
"The congress elected a new central committee of the party and replaced older leaders with younger ones," Hu Jintao said in a closing address at the closing session in the Great Hall of People in central Beijing.
"We are convinced that all the decisions and plans adopted and all the achievements made at the congress, which are of major current and far-reaching historical significance, will play an important role in guiding the all-around development of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the great new undertaking of Party building," he said.
Chinese leaders including Jiang Zemin, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang were present at the closing session, which was presided over by Hu.
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