China’s ruling Communist Party is set to appoint a new leadership to head the world’s most populous nation amid growing public concerns over galloping wealth gap, corruption and concentration of power in the party that has monopolised the nation’s political system since 1949.

The 18th Communist Party Congress to select new leaders, mostly “princelings”, is taking place here tomorrow, a day after the hard fought US elections, highlighting the sharp contrast between two systems.

Analysts point out that it was not rare that the Congress of the Party, which virtually marks a generational leadership change, coincided with US elections in the past.

The 16th Congress in which outgoing President Hu Jintao took over power was held in November. But China also opened up bit more in the last 10 years.

There was speculation that the Congress would be held in October to avoid the timing to coincide with the US polls but apparently the Bo Xilai scandal and the legal process to convict his wife, various officials and to purge the party of his supporters took a while for the leadership change.

According to official projections, Vice-President Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang have already been selected to succeed Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao well before the Congress with 2,270 member delegates has even met, which Chinese officials say marks the process of continuity and stability.

The other set of leaders to fill the seven or nine-member Standing Committee, the Politburo and the Central Committee were expected to be announced at the end of the Congress, which was expected to last for a week.

Ahead of the Congress, a new poll published by the official media here said the widening gap between the rich and the poor has become a major concern for the Chinese people.

The Communist Party has ruled China since the nation’s founding in 1949.

(This article was published on November 7, 2012)
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