Vietnam’s Communist Party nominates Vo Van Thuong as new president – sources

HANOI, March 1 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s Communist Party has nominated Vo Van Thuong as the country’s new president, two party sources said on Wednesday, following the sudden forced resignation in January of his predecessor as part of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

Thuong, 52, is the youngest member of the party’s Politburo, the country’s top decision-making body, and is considered close to Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s most powerful figure.

Trong is the chief architect of the party’s “flaming furnace” crackdown on graft, which has seen hundreds of officials investigated and many forced to resign, including former president Nguyen Xuan Phuc and two deputy prime ministers.

Thuong’s nomination by the party’s central committee upholds an earlier Politburo decision, and will need rubber-stamp approval by the National Assembly, which is due to hold an extraordinary session on Thursday and a formal meeting in May.

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Both the government and the Communist Party said on Wednesday that the party’s central committee had agreed on a nomination for president, without naming the candidate.

The president in Vietnam has a largely ceremonial role, but is among the top four political figures in the country, along with the party’s general secretary, the prime minister and the leader of the National Assembly.

A former propaganda chief, “Thuong is a dyed in the wool party apparatchik and a trusted member of General Secretary Trong’s inner circle,” said Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam politics at the Australian Defense Force Academy in Canberra.

He is currently one of the 16 members of the Politburo and holds the position of Secretary of the Party’s Central Committee, one of the highest-ranking positions in the country.

At a party meeting last month, Thuong said: “The people’s legal and legitimate interests must be the important starting point for all the party’s guidelines and policies”.

Hanoi-based diplomats told Reuters they saw the party’s decision to name Thuong president as an attempt to promote a new generation of leaders and consolidate power in case 78-year-old General Secretary Trong decides to step down before the end of his term. time. third period in 2026.

The secretary-general is often chosen from among the top leaders, and Trong, who was reappointed for a third term in 2021, “ensures that he has an acceptable successor in the mix,” one diplomat said.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio, Vu Khanh and Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty, Kanupriya Kapoor

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