Two days after the US election, it is the turn of China to choose a new leader.
But the political process could not be more different.
More than 2000 hand-picked delegates have gathered at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People for the start of the week-long meeting in the one-party state.
The once-per-decade new team of leaders will be unveiled at the end of the event in a week’s time. During the congress, Hu Jintao will hand over his role as party chief to his anointed successor, Vice President Xi Jinping.
Opening the congress, Mr Hu described the Chinese state and the governing Communist Party as under threat from corruption and promised political reform.
China has experienced unprecedented economic growth in recent years but faces growing social unrest, public anger at corruption and a yawning gap between rich and poor.