Election of delegates to 17th CPC national congress starts

Updated: 2006-11-12 18:03

BEIJING -- The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced here Sunday it has worked out an overall plan guiding the election of delegates attending the Party's 17th National Congress to be held in 2007.

A total of 2,220 delegates will be elected by 38 electoral units across the country. The election process, which has already begun, will be completed by June next year, according to the CPC Central Committee.

The number of delegates to the 17th CPC National Congress is 100 more than the 16th congress which was held in November 2002.

The increase in the number of delegates will improve the representation of the Party's grass-roots, an official with the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee told Xinhua.

The CPC currently has more than 70 million Party members, an increase of six million since the 16th National Congress.

The official said the CPC Central Committee has issued a circular on the election of delegates, which defines clearly the division of electoral units, the required makeup and qualifications of candidates and election procedures.

"Leaders and cadres generally should not constitute more than 70 percent of the total number of delegates, while those from the grass-roots level should not be less than 30 percent," the official said, adding that the percentage of workers, farmers and professionals elected as delegates should be improved.

The official also noted that the proportion of women delegates and those from ethnic groups should be higher than their respective percentages 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.

New economic organizations usually refer to privately owned enterprises and similar institutes.

According to the circular, the election process follows five procedures, including nomination of candidates, qualification checks, public notification of the candidates, short listing of candidates and final voting.

More democratic measures will also be introduced to encourage broader voter participation, said the official.

The CPC Central Committee has required Party committees at all levels to enhance inner-party democracy and safeguard the democratic rights of all Party members.

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

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

"The number of shortlisted candidates will be 15 percent higher than the number of delegates to be elected. This figure is five percentage points higher than during the election for the 16th CPC National Congress," the official said.

According to the circular, provincial CPC committees should hear the opinions of non-Communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and people of influence without party affiliation before the shortlist is made.

"This has never been done before. I believe it will have a significant and positive impact," the official said.

The circular said that any attempt to prevent voters from making their independent decisions must be prevented and bribery during the election must be prohibited.

The 16th Central Committee of the CPC decided at its sixth plenary session in October this year that the Party's 17th National Congress will be held in the second half of 2007 in Beijing. Such a congress normally convenes once every five years.

"Delegates to the 17th National Congress of the CPC are entrusted by the more than 70 million Party members. They represent the opinions and needs of Party members in various sectors and fields," the official said.

The official quoted the circular as saying that the delegates must observe four conditions. They are required to abide by and implement the Party constitution; carry out the Party's guidelines and policies; be industrious, honest and upright; and be in close touch with the public and honestly represent their opinions and demands.

During the 17th CPC National Congress, delegates will hear and review reports submitted by the 16th CPC Central Committee and the Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the official said.

They will also discuss and make decisions regarding important issues of the Party, and elect members of the 17th CPC Central Committee and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest leading body of the CPC except for the convention period of the Party's National Congress. The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee convenes the plenary session of the Central Committee at least once a year. The 16th CPC Central Committee has over 200 members.

At the Party's congress, delegates are expected to bring forward the suggestions and demands made by grass-roots Party members and the public in their areas, the official said.

Some senior Party members, who have retired from Party or government positions, will also be invited to attend the 17th CPC National Congress.

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