Beijing: Ending months of jockeying for power, China`s ruling Communist Party is all set to select 371 members for its top policy body, the Central Committee on the penultimate day of its week-long once-in-a-decade leadership Congress being held here.
The preliminary elections were conducted today and delegations will hold meetings to mull over the draft name-lists of candidates for members and alternate members of the new CPC Central Committee, state-run Xinhua reported.
A formal election will be held tomorrow.
The formation of the new Central Committee in turn would pave way for selection of 25-member Politburo, which would then choose the elite seven or nine member Standing Committee which rules the world`s second largest economy and the globe`s most populous country for the next ten years.
The Standing Committee included President, Prime Minister, Chiefs of the two houses of the Chinese parliament, Vice President and two Vice Premiers and leaders holding charge of defence, business and internal security.
The current Vice President Xi Jinping, 59 is officially projected to get elected as the General Secretary of over 82-million-member-strong Party and Chinese President to succeed the incumbent, Hu Jintao, 69.
Senior Vice Premier, Li Keqiang, 57 is being tipped to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao, 70, who along with Hu would be retiring at the end of this year.
Unlike the last succession 10 years ago, when the previous President Jiang Zemin continued as Chief of the Military Commission, reports here said Hu may quit that post also to enable Xi to have a head-start with the post of General Secretary, President of the Country and Chairman of the Military Commission.
Hu`s apparent decision to opt for complete retirement has surprised many analysts as he was expected to keep the top job Chairman of the Central Military Commission, especially in the backdrop of recent reshuffling of military top brass which was packed with officials who worked closely with him.
Vice Premier, Li Keqiang, 57 regarded as successor to Premier Wen Jiabao is also Hu`s protege.
Meanwhile, according to an official announcement here, the new Chinese leaders would interact with the media on November 15, the day after the conclusion of the Congress being attended 2270 members form all over the country.
The Congress began on November 8 with a stern warning by Hu that both China and the Party would collapse if corruption is not curtailed in the ranks of the 92-year-old party which has ruled the country for the past 63 years.
"If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the Party, and even cause the collapse of the Party and the fall of the state," Hu, who ruled the country in the last ten years said in his report to the Congress.
The new generation of leaders assume power just when China`s economy is on a downslide path after posting impressive growth rates in the last decade becoming the world`s second largest economy.
It posted 7.4 per cent the GDP growth in Q-4, a notch less than the official target of 7.5 per cent as a result of declining exports due to global economic crisis and weak demand.
The new leaders will be saddled with the task of altering the course of export driven economy to the one driven by domestic consumption.
Also, domestically China faced challenging situation in Tibet and Xinjiang, where ethnic minorities are up in arms.
Nine Tibetans have committed self-immolation in the last few days when the Congress was in session protesting the Chinese rule in their Himalayan homeland and calling for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama from India.
The numbers of those who committed self-immolation in the recent months has crossed 70.
In northwest China`s Xinjiang too, local Uygur Muslims have been agitating against the increasing settlements of Han Chinese in the resource-rich province.
While the province witnessed large scale violence in the last few years, China has deployed large number of security forces to deal with East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which reportedly has links with al Qaeda.
In his speech, Hu also said China would become a maritime power in the midst of its escalating maritime disputes with a host of neighbours in South China Sea and over the disputed islands with Japan in the East China Sea.
China this year has acquired its first aircraft carrier and developed a new stealth bomber becoming the second country after the US to have radar evading jet fighter.