Vietnam politics: Power shift as President Nguyen Xuan Phuc quits

Vietnam politics: Power shift as President Nguyen Xuan Phuc quits
Vietnam"s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc attends the 29th APEC Economic Leaders" Meeting (AELM) during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, Thailand on November 19, 2022. Reuters

Vietnam’s Chief executive Nguyen Xuan Phuc has announced he or she is stepping down, sparking a potential power shift one of the communist-ruled country’s commanders.

The move had been widely rumoured and follows the departure of 2 deputy prime ministers who served below him.

Mr Phuc, a former prime minister, had held the particular post of chief executive since 2021.

The news that he is giving up comes during a good anti-corruption drive directed by hard-liners. Hundreds of Communist Party associates are being investigated.

The particular president’s resignation needs approval from the Nationwide Assembly, which will hold an extraordinary vote on Wednesday that is expected to be a formality.

Confirmation from Vietnam’s official state media the fact that president was resigning adopted weeks of rumours that he would keep his post.

A party statement praised Mr Phuc’s leadership but said he or she was politically accountable for violations and the wrongdoing of numerous officials below him.

As well as the 2 deputy prime ministers who resigned previously this month, 2 ministers and other officials are facing criminal charges.

“As he or she was well aware of his responsibilities towards the Party and the individuals, Phuc filed a request to resign from his jobs and retire, inch the statement stated.


Analysis box by Jonathan Head, South East Asia correspondent

Reading Vietnamese politics is definitely difficult – the Communist Party makes its decisions behind closed doors.

But hard-line General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, who had been given an unparalleled third term at last year’s party congress, appears to be consolidating their authority by ousting senior officials viewed as more pro-Western and pro-business.

Formally this is all taking place in the name of fighting problem, a big problem within Vietnam, but it’s indicative of a power struggle at the top of the particular party which enables no challenges in order to its monopoly on power.

It’s unlikely to change Vietnam’s overall trajectory, with the focus still on stimulating foreign investment to keep up the breakneck speed of economic development, and on steering a delicate diplomatic path between China as well as the United States.

But the most likely rise now associated with more security-focused officials to the top of the celebration will be bad information for human legal rights and for those few Vietnamese brave sufficient to criticise the particular party.


Mister Phuc, 69, served as prime ressortchef (umgangssprachlich) from 2016 till April 2021, whenever he was selected president – one of the “four pillars” at the top of Vietnamese politics.

The particular Communist Party’s general secretary is the most effective of the four articles, although the president also holds significant power. The other two are the prime minister and the chairman of the Nationwide Assembly.

Nguyen Phu Trong, the current celebration general secretary as well as the country’s most powerful politician, is leading the particular anti-corruption drive.

The party has reported that within 2022 alone, 539 party members were prosecuted or “disciplined” for corruption plus “deliberate wrongdoings”, which includes ministers, top officials and diplomats.

Police also researched 453 corruption instances, a 50% raise from the previous season in the country, which has one of Asia’s fastest expanding economies.

Nguyen Phu Trong


Reports say Mr Trong may now mix his post along with Mr Phuc’s.

This particular move would be short-term, it is suggested, and means power is much less divided among the state’s leaders – but could also lead to a boost in authoritarianism.

In a second possible scenario being talked about, another member of the party’s top decision-making body, the Politburo, could be promoted to replace Mr Phuc since president.