Selecting township Party head through multi-candidate election invigorates CPC

08:43, May 23, 2011      

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Wang Shi has been the secretary of the Liulong Township Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Guizhou Province for four months. He can still vividly recall his nervousness while awaiting the final vote tally.

On Jan. 22, Wang and the other candidate vying to be elected as the Party head of Liulong Township delivered speeches to 410 of the township's Party members.

In his carefully-prepared election speech, Wang introduced himself as an experienced grassroots cadre who had worked in the township's statistics bureau and held several grassroots posts, including vice secretary of An'le Village Party Committee, before running for the Liulong Township Party head position.

The 38-year-old former soldier said his military experience helped him develop virtues like finding truth in facts and being down-to-earth.

In his speech, he promised to build more roads in the township and bring every household under the coverage of the "mini-reservoir project" to relieve water usage difficulties.

He pledged to vigorously develop industries, like traditional Chinese medicine, agriculture and livestock, to help locals find sustainable poverty-relief methods.

"The election speech was important, as my audience was ordinary Party members. The speech should be persuasive and without political jargon. I needed to clearly tell them what I planned to do in my term and the audience would judge and vote accordingly," Wang told Xinhua.

After the two candidates delivered their speeches, the 410 Party members cast their votes and the results were announced at the scene.

Wang won 301 votes and became the Party head of Liulong Township.

"To be honest, the other candidate, who is the deputy secretary of Baina Village Party Committee, was very capable and had plenty of grassroots working experiences as well. My advantage was that I am more familiar with local economic and social conditions," Wang said.

Still, Wang believes that actions are more important than words.

"At the end of the year, Party members will evaluate my performance," he added.

In 2003, The Party launched a trial program for selecting a township Party head through a multi-candidate election in Mulan Township, located in southwest China's Sichuan Province. Since then, more and more CPC committees of townships and urban communities have experimented with this method.

Ouyang Song, deputy head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee announced on the sidelines of the 17th CPC National Congress that, up to 2007, there had been more than 300 village and township Party heads selected through multi-candidate elections.

Since then, even more areas have experimented with multi-candidate elections at township Party Committee levels.

On Jan. 3, 2010, a multi-candidate election was held at Wangjiangjing Township in east China's Zhejiang Province to select the township's Party head.

In a live television broadcast, the township's 2,524 Party members cast their votes to select Chen Tianrong as their Party head.

"It is a fair stage for both candidates," said Chen, when commenting on the multi-candidate election. "I will try my best to fulfill the promises that I made in my election speech," he added.

"These elections showcase a democracy in which ordinary Party members' choices are fully respected," said 79-year-old Bu Dexian, a Party member for 53 years that walked a half-hour to cast his vote for the election.

Huang Jiazhong, an official with the Organization Department of Bijie Municipal Party Committee in Guizhou Province said that selecting a township Party head through a multi-candidate election is an effective way of reviving the enthusiasm of ordinary Party members participating in political affairs.

"The multi-candidate election also helps bring ordinary Party members' ideas into grassroots management," Huang added.

Selecting township Party heads through multi-candidate elections helps make the process of township Party official selection more transparent.

"You have to be capable and competitive. If you are lazy or mediocre, the ordinary Party member will not select you at all," said Wang Shi.

Township Party committees are at the grassroots-level of the Party's administrative hierarchy. Selecting a township Party head via a multi-candidate election helps reinforce the blood-and-flesh ties between the Party and the people, Wang continued.

Some political analysts are interested in how the candidates for the multi-candidate election are selected.

In Wang's case, the Dafang County Party Committee announced that it would select the Liulong Township Party head through a multi-candidate election in November 2010.

Candidate recommendations can be made personally by the candidate or by a grassroots Party organization.

There are some criteria a candidate must meet, including being a Party member for at least three years, being under 40 years old, holding a college degree and having grassroots working experience.

The Dafang County Party Committee spread the information to the general public through TV and the Internet.

In December 2010, the Dafang County Party Committee began examining the qualifications of all recommended candidates and, later, announced the results to the general public.

The Dafang County Party Committee then held a meeting, which was attended by representatives from the county's people's congress, government, disciplinary watchdog and political advisory body. They selected three preliminary candidates for the post of Liulong Township Party head at the meeting.

The Dafang County Party Committee's organization department assigned staff to the work units of the three preliminary candidates to do all-aspect evaluations.

Finally, another meeting was held by the Dafang Party Committee to select two final candidates from the three preliminary candidates.

Gao Xinmin, a professor with the CPC Central Committee's Party School, said it is important to guarantee that the candidates of the final multi-candidate election are both outstanding Party members, so as to ensure the quality of the final election and ensure that the Party administrates cadre affairs.

Having been the ruling Party in China for more than six decades, the CPC always believes that intra-Party democracy is the Party's lifeline.

"The multi-candidate election at the township level can help cadres maintain an upward mentality and strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses. And, more importantly, it makes the Party full of vigor," Gao added.

(Xinhua correspondents Duan Bo and Cao Guochang contributed the story)

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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