- New president elected after the sudden resignation of his predecessor
- Thuong is considered close to Communist Party leader Trong
- Thuong said he would continue the anti-corruption crackdown
HANOI, March 2 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s National Assembly elected Vo Van Thuong as the country’s new president on Thursday, in a reshuffle of the country’s top leadership as part of a sweeping anti-corruption drive.
In an extraordinary session, lawmakers confirmed Thuong, 52, after the ruling Communist Party named him president on Wednesday, a largely ceremonial role but one of four top political posts in the South Asian nation. South East.
Thuong’s election follows the sudden resignation in January of his predecessor Nguyen Xuan Phuc, whom the party accused of “violations and wrongdoing” by officials under its control, in what was seen as an escalation. major part of the “fiery furnace” of the country’s anti-corruption crackdown. .
In his first speech to parliament as the new president, Thuong said he would “resolutely” pursue the fight against corruption.
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“I will be absolutely loyal to the motherland, the people and the constitution, striving to fulfill the tasks assigned by the party, the state and the people,” Thuong said in a statement broadcast on Vietnamese state television. .
Thuong is the youngest member of the party’s Politburo, the country’s highest decision-making body, and is considered a party veteran who began his political career in college in communist youth organizations.
He is widely seen as close to General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s most powerful figure and the main architect of the party’s fight against corruption.
“The Burning Stove Campaign will not cool down for the foreseeable future,” said Florian Feyerabend, the Vietnam representative of Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think tank.
Diplomats and businesspeople have raised concerns about the anti-corruption campaign as it has crippled many routine transactions in Vietnam, with officials fearing they could be entangled in the crackdown.
A Hanoi-based diplomat said Thuong’s election was a major step for Secretary-General Trong amid moves to succeed him, given the 78-year-old leader could step down before the end of his third term in 2026.
The general secretary is usually chosen from among one of the main leaders.
Thuong was elected with 98.38 percent of the vote, according to the parliament’s online portal.
Analysts and investors saw the election as a sign of continuity in the country’s foreign and economic policies.
“There will be no major changes in Vietnam’s foreign policy after Thuong’s election,” said Le Hong Hiep, senior fellow and Vietnam expert at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.
A Vietnam-based foreign investor, who requested anonymity, said the election had ended the uncertainty caused by the sudden dismissal of the former president.
“It means that stability and predictability are restored,” he said.
Vietnam is a major recipient of foreign investment, with business leaders often citing its political stability as the main reason for investing.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio, Editing by Ed Davies and Kanupriya Kapoor
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