The man once tipped to become President Xi Jinping’s successor, Guangdong party boss Hu Chunhua, is likely to become a vice-premier in March but his prospects of inclusion in the Communist Party’s top echelon of power, the Politburo Standing Committee, are fading, sources have told the South China Morning Post. Meanwhile, Chongqing party boss Chen Miner, another rising star who is widely seen as the president’s protege, is expected to win promotion to the 25-member Politburo but will probably not make it into the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee. If neither man makes it to Politburo Standing Committee, it would contain no putative heir in the position to take over from Xi after he completes his second five-year term as party general secretary in 2022. Such arrangements, if confirmed, will inevitably add to speculation that Xi plans to carry on beyond his second term. But sources said it was premature to draw such a conclusion.
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