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Presentation on leadership transitions in the US and the People’s Republic of China

The year 2012 saw a simultaneous leadership transition in both the US and the People’s Republic of China [PRC], only the second time this had happened [the first was in 1992] since the founding of the PRC.

President Obama was re-elected but with a reduced majority in the Electoral College, the first President since the Second World War to face this outcome. All other Presidents who were re-elected to the office, came back with enhanced majorities in the Electoral College: this includes the records set by Nixon in 1972, going from 301 to 520, and Reagan from the landslide 489 in 1980 to an even more incredible 525 in 1984. The presentation looks at the financial and support base, as well as the likely policies, of Obama’s second term.

In the PRC, a new General Secretary took charge, who would automatically become President the following March, when the National People’s Congress would hold its annual session. The presentation looks at the rise of Xi Jinping, his probable approach to foreign affairs, and the team at the helm – the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee – that would lead for the next five or ten years, depending on the post they occupied. We point out that corruption and ensuring the Party’s survival is the main concern highlighted by outgoing leader, Hu Jintao, especially in the light of the Bo Xilai affair; plus the perennials - Taiwan and the economy, which was showing signs of trouble ahead.

Finally, the presentation examines the likely consequences of the changes for India. A country of particular concern was Afghanistan, and this continues to demand attention from all the countries considered in the presentation.

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