China leadership transition formally edges forward

Associated Press
Moderator Chen Wenjun, left, invites questions from reporters next to Liang Wengen, Chairman of the board of the SANY Group at a press conference with the theme of “implementing innovation strategies to accelerate transformation and development” as part of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the media centre in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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BEIJING (AP) — China's leadership transition has formally edged ahead, with the executive body of the Communist Party Congress forwarding a list of names to congress delegates for review.

State media reported that the congress's presidium, 41 current and former members of the leadership, approved the candidate list for the Central Committee and sent it to the delegates on Saturday. The delegates will cast votes before the congress closes Wednesday to choose the Central Committee, a roughly 350-member body.

The Central Committee, in turn, will select the top leadership.

The move is largely a formality, as is the congress itself. Deciding the lineup of leading bodies falls to a small group of power brokers.

Vice President Xi Jinping has been all but formally announced to replace President Hu Jintao as party chief and president.

China Central Television showed Hu addressing the meeting of the presidium, which was presided over by Xi.

Candidates for the Central Committee outnumber seats by only a small portion, giving the 2,268 congress delegates little choice except on the margins.

In addition to the name list for Central Committee members, the meeting also forwarded candidate lists for the party's internal watchdog agency, state media reported.

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