China to inaugurate new party leadership
China's Communist Party is set to inaugurate a new top leadership led by Vice President Xi Jinping as the new party general secretary.
The party ended its week-long National Congress on Wednesday after electing new members of the Central Committee. The Congress is held every 5 years.
The Central Committee members will meet on Thursday to elect the party's new top leaders for the next 5 years.
Of the 9 current members of the Political Bureau Standing Committee, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and 5 others will retire. Hu served as party general secretary for 10 years.
In a closing speech on Wednesday, Hu praised this round of the Congress for realizing a reshuffle from the old members to the new ones. He called on all party members to unite under the Central Committee and hoist the country's socialist flag.
Sources close to the party say the number of Standing Committee members will be reduced from the current 9 to 7 in an effort to speed up the panel's decision-making process.
Only Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang will remain on that supreme panel.
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, Shanghai Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Head of Publicity Department Liu Yunshan and Tianjin Party Secretary Zhang Gaoli are projected to become new Standing Committee members.
The selection is expected to leave the Standing Committee dominated by officials close to former president Jiang Zemin, who has already retired from the party.
Attention is now focused on whether Hu Jintao will remain at the top of the Central Military Commission as initially expected.
At a meeting of the DPJ Standing Officers Council held Tuesday, a senior party member openly urged Noda to resign. Noda did not attend the meeting.