Beijing, Nov 16: Outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao has formally relinquished his role at the top of the ruling Communist Party, clearing the way for Xi Jinping to take over as the country's new leader. Hu, 69, formally bade farewell to the party at a function here last night after ensuring once-in-a-decade smooth transfer of power.
Keeping up with the party rules and conventions, Hu quit as party General Secretary, President and Chairman of the Military Commission, handing over all the three powerful posts to his successor Xi, 59, who was formally elected as the new leader of the Party yesterday.
Hu's graceful exit was different from that of his predecessor Jiang Zemin who continued as Chairman of the Military Commission for two years even after retirement and retained his influence over the party till today. Hu along with his fellow retiring officials, including Premier Wen Jiabao, bade farewell to the party at the function attended by Xi and other new leaders and delegates of the 18th Party Congress. Hu and Wen will continue in office as Chinese President and Premier, respectively, till March next year.
Xi, who was the Vice President till now, will replace Hu as President in March, while Li Keqiang, 57, will succeed Prime Minister Wen. Thanking the party delegates for the smooth conduct of the just concluded once-in-a-decade leadership Congress, Hu said it held the banners of unity and enterprising spirit high with emphasis on continuity.
Hu said studying and implementing the spirit of the Party Congress is the top political task at present. Hu called on all party members, military forces and Chinese people of various ethnic groups to follow the lead of the new Central Committee with Xi as the General Secretary, state-run media reported.