China has fixed March 5 next year as the date it will convene a key legislative session, state media reported on Friday, with new Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) set to become president during the two-week meeting.
The date for the start of the first annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) was approved at an NPC Standing Committee meeting on Friday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The announcement comes after the Chinese Communist Party last month chose current Vice President Xi to take over the reins of the ruling party from current President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).
That was the first step in China’s highly choreographed once-a-decade leadership transition that sees the party change leaders first, with state positions, including president, premier and other key posts, filled at the NPC several months later.
Xi is set to be formally selected as president during the NPC session, while Li Keqiang (李克強), another top party official, is slated to become Chinese premier, replacing Wen Jiabao (溫家寶), the positions’ current occupant.
Xinhua said the legislative session would last about two weeks and would also deal with other important matters including approving a draft plan on national economic and social development for next year.
The announcement of the start of the next NPC comes after last month’s party congress, which had been expected some time in October, was delayed amid an internal party scandal involving disgraced politician Bo Xilai (薄熙來).
Bo, the former party boss in the central city of Chongqing, was once seen as a candidate for promotion to the party’s top echelons, but was brought down by murder allegations against his wife that came to light after his police chief sought refuge in a US consulate.