BEIJING Months of sharp behind-the-scenes jostling reached a climax Thursday with the announcement of a new Chinese leadership that almost regardless of its makeup is likely to be much like the one it replaces: divided, deliberative and weak.
All but officially announced, Xi Jinping is expected to head the new leadership as Communist Party chief, joined by Li Keqiang, the presumptive prime minster, in a choreographed succession that began five years ago when the two were anointed as successors. Alongside them at the apex of power, the Politburo Standing Committee, will be a handful of senior politicians drawn from top positions in the provinces and bureaucracies.
Their ascent was nudged along Wednesday when a week-long party congress closed by naming Xi, Li and the other leading candidates to the Central Committee, a 205-member body which appoints the new leadership Thursday. Left off the list was Hu Jintao, who is retiring as party chief after 10 years.
A top general told reporters that Hu is also relinquishing his sole remaining powerful post as head of the military, a significant break from the past that would give Xi leeway to establish his authority.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.