Xi Jinping replaced Hu Jintao as head of the Chinese Communist Party and the nationâ€™s military, ushering in the fifth generation of leaders who are set to take control of the worldâ€™s second-biggest economy.
Xi, 59, succeeds Hu as general secretary of the 82 million- member party that has run China since 1949, the official Xinhua News Agency announced. Heâ€™s joined on the elite Politburo Standing Committee by Li Keqiang, 57, who is forecast to replace Premier Wen Jiabao at a March meeting. The Standing Committee has seven members, down from nine.
Xiâ€™s immediate assumption of the military leadership, unlike his two predecessors, and the decision to cut the Standing Committee to seven from nine leave fewer voices to obstruct consensus and may help him consolidate control. Those moves may also speed up decisions on challenges ranging from an economic revamp and shrinking the nationâ€™s wealth gap to a strengthened campaign against corruption and managing territorial disputes with Japan.