Xi Jinping abandoned a very limited experiment in democracy at the top of the Chinese Communist party this year, instead using “face-to-face” consultations to fend off a rival faction and forge his team for his second term in office, the Financial Times reports. An article by the state-run Xinhua news agency gave details on some of the behind-the-scenes jockeying that led up to the party congress. It helps explain how the president was able to push through his agenda at the congress despite the strength of the rival Communist Youth League among the top ranks of party officials. At the previous two congresses the 375 full and alternate members of the party’s Central Committee were able to cast votes in certain leadership decisions. The elimination of the limited use of voting has strengthened the influence of the military and a core group of party stalwarts, against technocrats and professional bureaucrats who had tried to institutionalize the way China is governed.