Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday proposed to alter China’s constitution by scraping the two-term presidential limit, which could leave him as the head of the country for life.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday said that although this could be a great opportunity for Xi, it comes “fraught” with risks.
“This is a very forthright individual. He has a strong view for where he wants to take China for the long term, not just for the next few years,” he told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.”
The presidential term limit was installed in China’s constitution, after the rule of Chairman Mao Zedong, who led the country from 1949 until his death in 1976. Rudd said that China set the term limit in 1982 to prevent another “leader for life” from emerging.
“I think this is very much the consummation of [Xi’s] personal ambitions, to have an unrestricted period of office as president, but he does in so doing breach conventions which the Chinese laid down after Mao,” he said.
Rudd, who is also the president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, anticipates that not all Chinese leaders in government will support Xi’s move to stay in office.
“As an analyst of China, I think this is fraught with some risks as well. I think Chinese leadership elites will be acutely conscious of this, including some of the resistance internally,” he said.
This political move has also brought uncertainty to investors as well. Many are concerned about whether this new amendment will be bad for China’s economy.
Rudd, as well as financial analysts, believe China’s economy will inevitably become the largest in the world. He is confident that Xi’s permanent seat in office will make investors less weary.
“Is it better to have this authoritarian figure running it or some other person we don’t know? So I think markets are probably saying ‘well better the devil we know’ … and this growth in the Chinese economy they assume will continue,” he said.