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Party Congress Elections More Competitive
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Elections for the Communist Party of China (CPC) national congress are becoming more competitive, figures for the poll on the 17th congress show.

The CPC on Thursday published a list of 2,217 congress delegates, who were chosen by more than 70 million CPC members across the country after a three-month election.

Party committees at all levels nominated 2,550 candidates in 38 electorates for the final 2,217 formal delegates. This means the number of candidates was 15 percent higher than the number of delegates, compared with 10 percent higher in the election for the 16th congress in 2002.

"The increased ratio of candidates gave voters more choice," Associate Professor Wan Jun, of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said.

"The election for the 17th congress has been regarded by many non-Party observers as an improvement of the CPC's internal democracy," he said.

The number of delegates to the 17th CPC national congress was almost 100 more than for the 16th congress, in line with the total number CPC members, which has increased by about 6 million.

Deng Xiaohua, an official with the Chongqing banking regulatory commission, said voters could choose anyone who was qualified.

"There was no recommended list of delegates from higher authorities," he said.

Free nominations and voting encouraged more qualified voters to participate. Blackboards, bulletins, electronic displays, TVs and the Internet were used to send information about the election.

Ninety-nine percent of grassroots Party organizations and 98 percent of individual Party members participated in the election.

It also showed that delegates to the CPC's national congress are getting younger, with those under 55 accounting for 70.4 percent of the total, 7.2 percentage points higher than the previous congress.

Delegates were also better educated, with 93.3 percent holding academic degrees above junior college level, 1.6 percentage points higher than that of the previous congress.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2007)

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