It's an election for leaders quite unlike that in the West. Today, attendees of the Communist Party's 18th Party Congress were given the list of contenders for the Party's Central Committee. It's part of the final steps to establish the ultimate ruling circle—the nine, or seven member Politburo Standing Committee. So far, the process has been shrouded in secrecy and backroom jockeying.
The electoral process is an attempt by the Communist regime at its own style of intra-Party democracy. In reality though, democracy activist Liu Yingquan says, the makeup of the Central Committee has already been decided.
[Liu Yingquan, Chinese Democracy Activist]
"This so called marginal-election is not that significant. The list of contenders is given by senior delegates. Also, the order of the names that appear on the list are also carefully considered. Whoever the leaders want to select, it's hard for lower rank delegates to change."
In all, around 200 positions inside the Central Committee are up for grabs. The regime has not revealed just exactly how many people are being considered for the Committee though, only that the margin is around 8%--meaning that for every 100 positions, there are 108 contenders.
Once the Central Committee is established, its members will select the 25-member Politburo. Then, the Politburo Standing Committee will be named. Currently the small ruling circle has nine members, though it may be reduced to seven.
Aside from incoming leader Xi Jinping and future Premier Li Keqiang, the remaining line-up of the Standing Committee members have been the subject of a power struggle that's gripped the senior leadership of the Communist Party.
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