On Sunday, China’s national legislature voted 2,958 to 2 to nix the presidential term limit, effectively allowing President Xi Jinping to rule for life.
The vote was not surprising. Xi has removed much of his opposition from his party, while also beefing up his own leadership roles. He would have had to step down in 2023, but has now ensured that he will stay in power for a substantial length of time.
Meanwhile, Russia is gearing for its election on March 18, which is almost without question going to go to current president Vladimir Putin, whose opposition is less worrisome than the possibility of a low voter turnout. Putin has been in power for almost 18 years. In 2008, the Russian constitution was amended to extend presidential terms from four years to six. Could Putin pull a Xi Jinping and extend the limits beyond his 2024 expiration date?
We get the latest on the legislature’s vote in China and what it portends, plus a preview of the Russian election.
With guest host Libby Denkmann.
Elizabeth Economy, director of Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; her forthcoming book is “The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State” (Oxford University Press, April 2018)
Yuval Weber, expert on Russian domestic politics and international security; global fellow at the Wilson Center and Daniel Morgan Graduate School; his forthcoming book is "Designed to Fail: Patterns in Russian Economic Reform, 1860-2018" (Fall 2018, Agenda/Columbia University Press)