BEIJING, China (CNN) -- The man in the White House may be the same, but in China, a changing of the guard gets under way today. It's a world away from the noisy, flashy style of American elections, and it could usher in a very different era for the world's second-biggest economic heavyweight.
The country is about to undergo a monumental change in its leadership. China's ruling elite will soon meet at the 18th Communist Party National Congress.
The party congress comes together every five years and their last meeting came in 2007. And it was at the congress meeting ten years ago in 2002 when Hu Jintao succeeded Jiang Zemin as China's top leader.
This year's meeting is set to begin Nov. 8 when the delegates from all across China will set major policies and choose the estimated 370 members of the party's central committee.
This will likely be the largest transition of power in china in the past three decades. Almost three-quarters of committee members will be replaced due mainly to their age. Sixty-eight is the unofficial cutoff for retirement.
Among those stepping down is china's president Hu Jintao, and premier Wen Jiabao. It's expected that vice-president Xi Jinping and vice-premier, Li Keqiang will ascend to the top leadership posts.
They're already members of China's most important decision making body, the politburo standing committee. Seven to nine members of the standing committee will be selected at this party congress and at least five of those spots are up for grabs.
This is of key importance because this is the team of people who will lead China for the next ten years. Much of this historic transfer of power will happen behind closed doors.
So we will be closely watching to see who will join China's "fifth generation" of party leaders.