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Susan Shirk on Possibility of Internal Elections Within Chinese Communist Party

Doubts loom over China 'election'

John Garnaut, The Sydney Morning Herald

China's most uncertain leadership transition in decades could catalyse lasting institutional innovations in the way leaders are chosen, analysts say.

As more than 2000 Communist Party delegates gather on Thursday to start the 18th Party Congress, observers have been surprised by reports that two respected and reformist-minded proteges of outgoing party boss Hu Jintao have failed to secure seats on the Politburo Standing Committee.

While Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang are almost certain to be promoted to party boss and premier-in-waiting, a further five seats on the committee — the inner sanctum of power — are yet to be settled.

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Susan Shirk is the chair of the 21st Century China Program and Ho Miu Lam Professor of China and Pacific Relations at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at UC San Diego. She also is director emeritus of the University of California system-wide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) and chair of the IGCC International Advisory Board. 

In 1993, she founded, and continues to lead, the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), an unofficial “track-two” forum for discussions of security issues among defense and foreign ministry officials and academics from the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and the Koreas.

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