China's ruling Communist Party is preparing to shuffle its top ranks, an opaque process that will affect the country's economy and stability for years to come.
The transition, set to start just two days after Americans go to the polls, will set a new cast for the powerful Politburo Standing Committee -- a small group of officials who will wield tremendous power over China's tightly-controlled economy for years to come.
That economy, the world's second largest, has sprinted to prominence over the past three decades with year after year of sustained 10% growth.
But China's economic growth has slowed recently. In the third quarter, the government reported GDP expansion of only 7.4%. The economy's performance, while not a disaster, was still the slowest quarterly growth posted in years and underscored concerns about the sustainability of Beijing's model.
At the heart of these concerns is a set of structural problems, all of which require reforms that the previous party leadership -- divided over policy -- was unable to complete.