Path clears for China's Xi Jinping
China's president Hu Jintao has stepped aside as Communist Party leader to clear the way for vice president Xi Jinping to take the helm in China.
The 2,270 carefully vetted delegates cast their votes behind closed doors in Beijing's cavernous Great Hall of the People for the new Central Committee, a ruling council with around 200 full members and 170 or so alternate members with no voting rights.
The committee will in turn, tomorrow, appoint a Politburo of a few dozen members and a Politburo Standing Committee, the innermost ring of power with possibly seven members, reduced from the current nine.
Mr Xi was re-elected along with other leading candidates for seats on the Standing Committee. He has long been expected to take over from Mr Hu, first as party chief and then as president when parliament meets for its annual session in March, in China’s second orderly transfer of power.
Li Keqiang also is due to take over from Wen Jiabao as premier. The new leaders face an economic slowdown and rising unrest among citizens.
After days of speeches and rhetorical displays of party unity, the five-yearly congress unanimously approved Mr Hu's "state of the nation" work report and approved a revision to the party charter further enshrining Mr Hu's theory of sustainable and equitable development.
Mr Hu's work report warned that corruption threatened the party's rule and the state, but said the party must stay in charge as it battles growing social unrest.