China's leader-in-waiting Xi gets top job at key party meet

China's leader-in-waiting Xi gets top job at key party meet
Beijing:

Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping is virtually confirmed to be the successor to outgoing President Hu Jintao after he was formally designated as the Secretary General of the once-in-a-decade leadership meet of the  ruling Communist party beginning here tomorrow, signalling smooth transfer of power.

The preparatory meeting of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) appointed Xi as secretary-general of the five-yearly event, the spokesman of the Communist Party Congress, Cai Mingzhao, told media here ahead of the week-long event.

59-year-old Xi, son of a former Vice-Premier was being projected as the new leader to succeed Hu both as General Secretary of the Party and President of the country, while Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, 57, is expected to take over the premiership from Wen Jiabao.

Chinese leaders at the top level retire after a 10-year tenure.

The power transfer was expected to be smooth as hardliner Bo Xilai has already been sacked from the party after he was embroiled in a scandal relating to the murder of alleged MI6 spy Neil Heywood.

While Bo awaits trial, his wife Gu Kailai has already been given a suspended death sentence for her complicity in the murder.

Cai said the Congress would deliberate on a various policies relating to the Party ideology as well as social and economic development of the country.