Vietnam legislature approves resignation of president, state media says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 11:21 PM

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s legislature on Thursday approved the resignation of President Vo Van Thuong, state media reported, the latest top official to step down amid an intensified anti-graft crackdown by the ruling Communist Party.

Thuong, 53, became the second president to resign in just over a year in Vietnam, where leadership changes have recently been all linked to the wide-ranging “blazing furnace” anti-bribery campaign.

The state media reports made no mention of who would replace Thuong. According to Vietnam’s constitution, Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan would serve in the position.

The national assembly office did not immediately respond to calls seeking confirmation of the reports.

The president holds a largely ceremonial role but is one of the top four political positions in the Southeast Asian nation.

Thursday’s vote by the rubber-stamp National Assembly is largely a procedural step, after the party’s central committee on Wednesday accepted Thuong’s resignation, removing him from the Politburo, its top decision-making body, and his position of head of the National Defence and Security Council.

The committee said Thuong, 53, violated party rules, adding that those “shortcomings had negatively impacted public opinion, affecting the reputation of the Party, State and him personally”, without specifying what he had done wrong.

Xuan, one of only a few women in senior positions in Vietnamese politics, will step up to the role of president for the second time in just over a year.

She filled the void in the six weeks after Nguyen Xuan Phuc stepped down as president last year for “violations and wrongdoing” by officials under his control.

Thuong was widely regarded as being close to ageing General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s most powerful figure and architect of an anti-graft campaign that intensified recently in amid several high-profile fraud and corruption cases involving top officials and corporate executives.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty)