By Azania Post Reporter
The Communist Party of China has proposed a motion to remove a clause in the country’s constitution which limits the presidency to two five year terms.
That would mean the current President Xi Jinping to remain as the country’s leader after he was due to step down.
Speculation that Xi would seek to extend his presidency beyond 2023 was gaining momentum in recent months.
Party Congress last year saw him cement his status as the most powerful leader since the late Mao Zedong.
His ideology was also enshrined in the party's constitution at the Congress, and in a break with convention, no obvious successor was unveiled.
Born in 1953, Mr. Xi is the son of one of the Communist Party's founding fathers. He joined the party in 1974, climbing its ranks before becoming president in 2013.
His presidency has seen economic reform, a fierce campaign against corruption, as well as a resurgence in nationalism and a crackdown on human rights.
What do we know about the move?
"The Communist Party of China Central Committee proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China 'shall serve no more than two consecutive terms' from the country's Constitution," it reported.
It gave no other details, but the full proposal was due to be released later.
The announcement appears carefully timed, with many Chinese people due to return to work on Monday after celebrating the Chinese New Year. China was also centre stage at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, as South Korea prepared to hand the Games over to Beijing for 2022.
The top officials who make up the party's Central Committee are due to meet on Monday in Beijing.
The proposal will go before legislators at the annual full session of the National People's Congress which starts on 5 March.
How significant is this?
Under the current system, Mr. Xi was due to step down in 2023.
The tradition of limiting presidencies to 10 years emerged in the 1990s when veteran leader Deng Xiaoping sought to avoid a repeat of the chaos that had marked the Mao era and its immediate aftermath.
Mr. Xi's two predecessors have followed the orderly pattern of succession. But since he came to power in 2012 he has shown a readiness to write his own rules.
It is not clear how long Mr. Xi might stay in power, but an editorial in China's state-run Global Times said the change did not mean "that the Chinese president will have a lifelong tenure".
The paper quoted Su Wei, a Communist Party academic, and party member, as saying it was a significant decision as China needed a "stable, strong and consistent leadership" from 2020-2035.