About 3,000 members of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, have settled down to select the top leadership for the new term, a right enshrined in the Constitution.
Chen Sixi, dean of the State Law Office of the NPC Commission of Legislative Affairs, talked recently about how China's leaders are elected.
He said the process for electing leaders involves nominating candidates, discussing candidate lists, formalizing the lists and then putting them to a vote.
The Constitution gives the NPC presidium the right to nominate candidates, and it always proposes candidates according to the advice given by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
The presidium nominates candidates for the chairman, vice-chairpersons, secretary-general and members of the NPC standing committee, president and vice-president of the country and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of China, the top judge and procuratorator-general.
But the nominations made by the presidium are not finalized without first seeking the opinions of the deputies through group discussion, Chen said.
According to the rules of election and appointment adopted at the NPC session, the election of the chairman, vice-chairpersons and secretary-general of the 11th NPC Standing Committee, president and vice-president of China and chairman of the CMC follow the single-candidate system. That is, they are elected from an equal number of candidates.
The election of the NPC Standing Committee members follows the differential voting system, with a seven percent margin to be eliminated.
The Constitution stipulates that the candidate for premier of the State Council shall be nominated by the president of the State, and the candidates for vice-chairmen and members of the CMC shall be named by the CMC chairman.
Then the vice-premiers, state councilors, ministers, commission heads, leader of the People's Bank of China, the top auditor and secretary-general shall be nominated by the premier of the State Council.
All the candidates are subject to voting at the NPC.
(China Daily 03/17/2008 page7)