Grass-roots to get more say

Updated: 2006-11-13 06:20

An increase in the number of delegates to the Party congress next year will help improve the representation of grass-roots workers, an official said Sunday.

A total of 2,220 delegates will be elected across the country to the Party's 17th National Congress, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced Sunday as it unveiled an election plan under which more measures will be introduced to encourage broader voter participation.

The number of delegates is 100 more than that for the previous congress which was held in November 2002.

Elections, which have already begun, will be completed by June, it said.

"Leaders and cadres generally should not constitute more than 70 per cent of the delegates, while those from the grass-roots level should not be less than 30 per cent," an official with the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee told Xinhua News Agency.

He added that the percentage of workers, farmers and professionals elected as delegates should be increased; and that the number of women and those from ethnic groups should be higher than their proportion of the total number of Party members in their electoral units.

"The delegates should also include a certain number of Party members who come from new economic and social organizations," the official said, referring to privately-owned enterprises.

The CPC currently has more than 70 million members, an increase of 6 million since the 16th congress; and the CPC Central Committee requires committees at all levels to enhance inner-Party democracy and safeguard the democratic rights of members.

Meanwhile, the Central Committee has widened voters' choice by enlisting more candidates.

When the names of qualified nominees at county and prefecture levels are put forward, a list of candidates will be decided upon by the local Party congress. This is seen as an improvement over past practices when only the standing committee of a local Party committee made the decision.

"The number of shortlisted candidates will be 15 per cent higher than the number of delegates to be elected," the official said.

The Party's 17th National Congress will be held in the second half of next year in Beijing. The congress normally convenes once every five years.

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