Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has turned in his resignation after the ruling Communist Party found him responsible for the violations and wrongdoings of many officials under him, the country’s official news agency said.

Phuc, who is 68 years old, has held the mostly symbolic job for less than two years. It wasn’t clear right away who would take his place.

“Fully aware of his responsibilities to the party and the people, he turned in a request to resign from his positions, quit his job, and retire,” the powerful Central Committee of the party told the Vietnam News Agency on Tuesday.

Phuc’s resignation comes after two vice prime ministers were fired this month as part of a crackdown on corruption that has led to the arrest of dozens of government officials.

The firings of Pham Binh Minh and Vu Duc Dam come at a time when the Communist-run country is stepping up its fight against corruption. This is despite concerns that the anti-corruption campaign is slowing down normal business because officials are afraid of getting caught up in investigations.

Last month, the party took action against Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son because several ministry officials and diplomats were said to have been involved in the scandal over repatriation flights.

‘Unusual’

Analysts told Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from Kuala Lumpur, that the change is “unprecedented.”

“Vietnam is ruled by a single party, and any political changes are handled very carefully so that people think politics are stable and consistent. So analysts say that this is very rare… “Some people say this is a power move by Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Communist Party,” she said.

“Now, (Trong) will finish his term in 2026. And the president who just quit is one of the top candidates to take his place. Now, it’s not clear who will be the new president, but there are rumors that the Minister of Public Security, To Lam, could take over.

Looi said that if Lam did become president, both the prime minister and the president would have worked in the public security ministry in the past.

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