China's parliament has expelled fallen party leader Bo Xilai, state news agency Xinhua said Friday, allowing formal criminal charges to be laid against him.
The expulsion removes Bo's immunity from prosecution as a member of parliament. Xinhua said the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress "announced the termination of Bo Xilai's post" as a deputy.
The announcement comes two weeks before the Communist Party congress that will usher in China’s new leadership, Reuters notes.
Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, and his former police chief, Wang Lijun, have both been jailed over the scandal, which stems from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood while Bo was Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing.
The government last month accused Bo of corruption and of using his power to cover up the murder. Late last month Bo was expelled from the Communist Party for abuse of power, bribe-taking and violating party discipline.
A lawyer hired by Bo’s family said Thursday he was unable to say whether the government would let him represent Bo when the case comes to trial.