BEIJING, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The Chinese Communist Party's 18th Congress ended its weeklong session Wednesday ahead of presenting its new leaders to run the country in the next decade.
Wednesday's program included the election of the party Central Committee of about 200 members, chosen through secret balloting by the 2,307 delegates who attended the Congress, which is held every five years. This year's Congress was also tasked to complete the once-in-a-decade leadership transition. The Communist Party has ruled the country since 1949 under a one-party system.
The new Politburo of about 25 members and the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest power in China appointed by the Central Committee, would be presented Thursday.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the Politburo Standing Committee was expected to meet both Chinese and foreign journalists at the Great Hall of the People Thursday morning.
Those present at the closing session included President and party General Secretary Hu Jintao, former President Jiang Zemin, and Premier Wen Jiabao, Xinhua reported. Also present were Xi Jinping, expected to succeed Hu as China's top leader, and Li Keqiang, likely successor to Wen.
Xi and Li were expected to lead the new team that must tackle Chinas' numerous challenges including a slowing economy after years of double-digit growth that made China the world's second largest economy behind the United States, widening income disparity among the country's 1.3 billion people, rampant corruption, rising ethnic tensions witnessed by the recent spate of self-immolations by Tibetans protesting Chinese rule of their land and pushing ahead with political and economic reforms while contending with the conservatives elements in the leadership.
Xinhua said the party congress "was held at the decisive stage of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects."